Humans of FHC: Lisa Penninga


“The book that would define my childhood would be Good Night Moon and I Love You, Stinky Face, which is two [books] because I couldn’t decide on just one. It’s probably because of my parents– I grew up with a really good childhood. My parents were awesome, I had a good brother– I had a really good start to life. So, those books just kind of demonstrate unconditional love to me, and that’s what I was given as a child. My tweens [would be defined by] the Nancy Drew series and The Baby-Sitters Club because I was really into those series. I would eat a book, and then go through it, and then eat another one– all I wanted to do was read books. I was really into it. The Baby-Sitters Club series I think had like 32 books, and I went through all of them. That’s all I did: read books. I’d bring them to baseball games, my brother’s swim meets’ you would see a book in front of my face everywhere I went. And then as a teenager, I started [to read] more beatnik books, like reading about people that just had a different walk of life than me. So I read The Basketball Diaries by Jim Carroll, On the Road by Jack Kerouac, The Catcher in the Ryea�� I was just really into books about people that kind of took a new journey than the one I took. And then my twenties [would be defined by] The Awakening by Kate Chopin. The whole book is about this woman who just kind of stands up for what she believes in, even though it goes against society, and I feel like that’s when I started doing that– like at Michigan State [when I] was just kind of finding my way and who I am. My thirties [would be defined by] The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst because she teaches you in this book- it’s totally nonfiction- how you need to say no more often. My whole life I had never said no. [This book] taught me that instead of being a people-pleaser, I really need to please myself more and find my “best yes” instead of just saying yes to everything and anyone. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah [also defines my thirties] because it’s about these two really strong women who don’t seem strong on the outside but they are strong within, and you kind of read about their journey in life. I feel like that resonated with me, and that’s kind of who I’ve become in my thirties.”