Sunday, June 10, 2018

Books from My Childhood



This is my second of a two-part posting about books I’ve read throughout my life. When I was little, Mom read to my brother and me each evening, but we did not own any of those books. They came from the library. Then, when I learned to read, my Aunt Glad and Uncle Al and their son, Tom, began to give me a book each Christmas until I was probably twelve. Those books are still part of my own personal library. They are shelved in a bookcase here in my office.

Among those books are Peter Pan, The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, and several fairy tale selections. My favorite book as a child was Little Men by Louise May Alcott. As a tomboy, I much preferred it to Little Women. (The recent PBS presentation of Little Women was so enjoyable I’ve decided to reread Little Men and Jo’s Boys.)

In grade school, Sister Miriam read Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan to my eight-grade class. By 1949, when she read it to us, it had already become a classic. I’ve reread it several times as an adult, and I’ll be giving it as a Christmas gift to a ten-year-old friend this year. For those of you who haven’t read it, the book is about a group of children who, using their sleds, helped smuggle gold bullion out of Norway in 1940 after the Nazis parachuted into their country. It’s an exciting adventure!

As an adult, I’ve read a number of books written for children. I’ve read for two reasons: because a friend recommended a book for 10 to 14-year-olds or because I wanted to buy a Christmas gift for a young relative. I am always interested in learning about new books because I give a book each Christmas to each great-grand-nephew or niece—I have ten.

Thus, the books I’ve read as an adult are those by Gary Paulsen, whose five-part” Hatchet Adventure Series” is widely appreciated by young people. I’ve read the first of the series—Hatchet—several times. It’s a survival story of a young boy—Brian—lost in the northern Canadian woods.

Just this past year, on the recommendation of a friend, I read Redwall, by Brian Jacques. I now plan to give it to my great-grand-nephew Beau (who’s 10) for Christmas. It’s the story of a group of peace-loving mice who are threatened by Cluny and his gang of bloodthirsty rats. This book reminded me of the adult book Watership Down, which is a favorite of mine.

Another book I recently read on a friend’s recommendation is a World War II story for young readers, just as Snow Treasure is. The book—The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley—is the story of a ten-year-old child kept almost secret by her mother in one room in London. It is the sending of children to the countryside that saves Ada. Both this book and its sequel—The War I Finally Won—are immensely enjoyable.

Of course, I read all of Harry Potter as a sixty- and seventy-year-old reader. Except for the Narnia series, they were the first fantasy adventures I ever read and they totally enthralled me. I have all seven books as well as the audio cassettes and the DVDs. Under the influence of J. K. Rowling, I became a Potter junkie!

What books do you remember from childhood?

Or what books written for young people have you’ve enjoyed as an adult? Please share!


Peace.

Illustration from Wikipedia

18 comments:

  1. My favorite subject - books! I read most of the Redwall books to my youngest and loved them as much as he did. I still have a trilogy my aunt gave me when I was about ten - The Katy books - "What Katy Did," "What Katy Did at School," and "What Katy Did next. " They were my intro to how you could get completely lost in a book. "Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates," "Heidi," "Little Women" - I wanted to BE Jo...More recently I have loved "The Yearling" and anything by Kate Di Camillo, especially "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, " and "The Tale of Despereaux." And, if I want my oldest daughter to take care of me in my dotage, I must first read "Anne of Green Gables"her favorite book growing up.

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    1. Dear Molly, I've read only the first Redial book; I need to read the others. I've never heard of the Katy books; I'll check that out. And yes, I too so enjoyed "Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates." I think my 7th grade teacher--Sister Mary McCauley read it to my class. I never read "Heidi" but like you, I enjoy Kate DiCamillo. She's a Minnesota author and I was living there when she published --to great acclaim--her first book the one on Winn-Dixie. I don't know why I missed Anne of Green Gables. I've seen the PBS movies, but never read the book. There's a lot to catch up on. thanks so much for your list. Peace.

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  2. "...a group of children who, using their sleds, helped smuggle gold bullion out of Norway in 1940 after the Nazis parachuted into their country."

    How am I just hearing about this book now?? As a child I could easily picture the Soviets parachuting into my backyard (in the 1970s on the thumb of Michigan). Fortunately, they did not, and now that just sounds so crazy. But I am sure if they had I would have been totally inspired by kids spiriting away gold bars on sleds.

    Is this based on a true story?

    Good books: Sign of the Beaver, Mocassin Trail, Lord of the Rings (which I only read as an adult because cartoon Gollum scared me...in the 1970's. It was quite a decade!)

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    1. Dear Sandi, it is based on a true story. I'm sure you'll find it enjoyable. As I said, I've reread it as an adult two or three times. I've never head of the first two books you mention, so I need to look for them. I will. Peace.

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  3. I've never read Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan but it sure sounds like a good read. I have ten great-great nieces and nephews, too, and books is a wonder idea to Christmas gifts. Thanks for that. And it is a great excuse to re-read all the books I enjoyed as a kid.

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    1. Dear Jean, it is a great read! It and "Redwall" and "Hatchet" are excellent books to give for children 10 to 14. Peace.

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  4. I adore books and refuse to be constrained by genre and age group.
    The Land of Green Ginger by Noel Langley was an early favourite (which I still reread). Ditto the Moomintroll series by Tove Jansson. Tolkein's The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Almost anything by Paul Gallico. And Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories...
    So many books so little time.

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    1. Dear Sue, I've heard of "the Land of Green Ginger." Now I need to see if the library has it as an e-book. I've never heard of the Moomintroll series. I'll look it up.

      Like you, I read everything by Paul Gallico, especially "Snow Goose" (I think that's the name.) He surely influenced my reading. I didn't get to the "Just So" stories. I've got a lot of catching up to do! Peace.

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  5. The Phantom Tollbooth, Chronicles of Narnia, Shel Silverstein books, Maurice Sendak books, Judy Bloom...so many fabulous books for young readers!

    As an adult, I read Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy and loved them.

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    1. Dear Bea, I've never heard of the "Phantom Tollbooth," Ill look it up. I have read the Narnia chronicles and all the Shel Silverstein poetry books and the Sendak and Bloom. Yes, I so agree, that so many wonderfully creative and gifted authors are writing for children. One I like is Judith Viorst. I'll look for the Pullman series. Peace.

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  6. I will never forget reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn as a child or The Phantom Tollbooth & all the Dr. Seuss books, which I did not discover until I was an adult! adult!!

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    1. Dear Fishducky, yes, I, too, really loved "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn." I think it was published in the late 1940s or early '50s. Bea (in the moment above) also mentioned the "Phantom Tollbooth." I need to look that up. And yes Dr. Seuss was a marvelous discovery as an adult! Peace.

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  7. I remember reading Heidi, Little Women, The Secret Garden, Black Beauty, and Peter Pan. And who can forget our little school readers about Dick and Jane.

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    1. Hello, Of your listing in the first sentence, I've read "Little Women," "The Secret Garden" "Black Beauty," and "Peter Pan," but I never read Heidi. Not sure why.

      And oh, yes, how can we forget Dick and Jane and their dog--was his name Spot? Peace.

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  8. I loved the Lord of the Rings books and have read them several times. Maybe it's time for another read. I also loved Watership Down and will re-read it again soon. I also am a Harry Potter fan! :-)

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    1. Dear DJan, I never read the Rings series as I didn't have any interest in fantasy. Now I think I need to start with the Hobbit and go from there.

      Glad to know you're a Potter fan! The 2-part play got lots of awards last night at the Tonys! Peace.

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  9. You are going to be reading and discovering a log of new favorite books as a result of your last two posts, Dee! I love Five Little Peppers and the Boxcar Children books and oh-so-many-more books when I was a child. We couldn't afford a library card for the town library (we lived out in the township) so I was seriously limited to the books in our school classroom "library". That consisted of a small bookcase and some very old castoff books! I remember fondly series called Snip, Snap, and Snuff, and Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka. We finally got a library card when I was 10 or 11 and I couldn't have been happier if I had been handed the world! And in a sense, I had been handed the world.

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    1. Dear Cynthia, I found your comment so interesting. Thank you for sharing your childhood reading and the wonder of having a library card. I need to check out the Boxcar Children Books and look for the two you mention toward the end of your comment. And you're right, I have a lot of new books to explore and read! Makes me happy.

      It's so true that reading hands us the world. I've learned not only about places, but about the human heart and what motivates us to act. Reading has helped me understand not only others but also myself. Peace.

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