Thanks to Jon over at Children's Book Insider for pointing out this great article by Tim Kreider about how the books we read when we're young have the greatest influence over us. (An article for the parents in the house -- it's a bit long-winded for the kids.)
Think back on the books you loved as a child and see if this isn't true. For me, even as an adult, the emotions created when I read them are just as palpable today. I remember the first book that made me cry (like the author of this article, it was Charlotte's Web), the one that made me sob hysterically (Where the Red Fern Grows), and the ones that taught me things about the past (the All of a Kind Family books).
There were the books brought me closer to my mother (Betsy, Tacy and Tib, the Little House books), the books that made me laugh (How to Eat Fried Worms, Harriet the Spy) and the ones that intrigued me about the world's mysteries (A Wrinkle in Time).
In fact, it was the emotions connected with books I read as a child that returned to me full force when my son and I started reading them together. And it was those emotions that ultimately made me want to write one of my own.