Tuesday, October 20, 2009

When We Were Very Young

My kids and I were reminiscing about the books we remembered reading (or having read to us) when we were young. My daughter came up with The Lonely Doll, When the Sun Rose, We Like Kindergarten, Jessica (Kevin Henkes)and The Story of Holly and Ivy.

Those were her "young 'un" favorites; these were from her pre-teen/teen years: Alice in Rapture, Sort of (the Alice series -- Phyllis Reynolds Naylor), Just As Long As We're Together (Judy Blume), Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret (Judy Blume), Stacey's Book (Baby-sitter's Club -- Ann M. Martin), California Diaries series (Ann M. Martin), Daughters of Eve (Lois Duncan) andGirl Goddess #9 (Francesca Lia Block).

My son liked all of Marilyn Sadler's Alistair books, but his favorite was Alistair Underwater. He also remembers the Boxcar Children books, Grover (from Sesame Street) in The Monster at the End of the Book, and a book he thinks was called "How to Make Money." I didn't recall that one, but he said, "It was a picture book I got from the library 100 times. It told me to build a bike path in the backyard that I wanted to charge my friends to use, etc." Oh yeah, I remember that.

I also remember my son being fascinated with a book that told the story of how crayons were made. And I have a clear memory of the two of us choking up while reading Scott O'Dell's Island of the Blue Dolphins out loud -- the same way it choked me up when I read it at about age nine.

From my own childhood, I recalled the Slottie books my grandparents gave to us (I think they came from a book club) -- Columbine the White Cat, Fair Brown and Trembling and others. I still have a beat up but treasured copy of Laura Bannon's The Little Sister Doll -- I disliked the name Timmy for years because of the mean kid in that story. I loved all of Tasha Tudor's books, but especially The Doll's Christmas. Later, I fell in love with Paul Berna's classic A Hundred Million Francs, which was later made into the Disney movie, The Horse Without a Head.

For my sixth birthday, I was given a copy of A.A. Milne's Now We Are Six -- I was sick on my birthday, and for some odd reason I remember it better than just about any other. In addition to the book, I got a set of pretty days of the week undies and a bracelet with a penny charm on it. That was 51 years ago, and yet I can forget where I set my glasses down five minutes ago. I also had a copy of When We Were Very Young -- one of those books contained the poem, "King John's Christmas" which is still an all-time favorite of mine.

The most treasured of the treasured books -- my daughter loves it almost as much as I do -- is the Tall Book of Make Believe, with the most wonderful collection of stories and illustrations a child could ever want. Susan's Bears, Bad Mousie, The Land of Counterpane, Georgie, The Very Mischief, The Everlasting Lollipop -- oh, the memories that book brings back.

Read to your children, and your grandchildren -- do it for them, but do it for yourself, too.


Sandra Ferguson said...

I love the childhood books. Actually, can't wait to have grandkids just to read them all over again. The Sesame Street books were a huge hit, and The Litte Critters. Somewhere, along the way my son discovered GAry Paulsen and we were all off on many wonderful adventures.

Becke Davis said...

Hi Sandra - Gary Paulsen wrote SOUNDER, didn't he? I know a lot of my son's friends were reading that. Another one my kids liked was WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS by Wilson Rawls. And they both LOVED the Sesame Street and Berenstain Bears books. Also the Little Critters, but not as much as they loved Russell Hoban's FRANCES books and the Max & Ruby books by Rosemary Wells.