Everyone Needs a Pleasant Reminder

childhood

I realize it is quite late, and I should be in bed like all good children are. Tonight’s excuse is as follows; I feel that if I don’t get my thoughts out now, then when I try to do so tomorrow morning, they will be incomplete. I’d hate to have that, knowing it was preventable. I came across tonight’s inspiration purely by accident (as are most of Novel Dame’s muses), and it brought back fond memories.

By hitting the wrong link, I was presented with a list of the Bestselling Children’s Books of All-Time (Hardcover). I sat here for a good twenty minutes just reading this list, and reflecting on each book. For the longest time, I had believed that the world had turned away from Little Golden Books, thus neglecting the classics that my parents and myself grew up with, like The Pokey Little Puppy (1), and The Little Engine that Could(30). My own copies are no bigger than a cell phone nowadays! Certainly everyone expected Dr. Seuss to be littered throughout, but Nancy Drew, of all books, made the top 50! I didn’t think kids read her anymore. Honestly. One of my earliest memories was having the whole series sitting on my shelf – next to my rubber piggy bank. They were my first “chapter books” and I was wholeheartedly devoted to the clean cut, classic crime solver for many years. Shh, I’ll admit part of me still is. I remember having to memorize an entire Eric Carle book (20) in first grade, and going to the school library for read-aloud time to hear The Rainbow Fish (25) for the sixth time and still loving it. To see Waldo books(41, 45), Richard Scary(66, 73), and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie(69) listed… its like going back there. Back to my tiny Elementary school, back to the playground, back to the wonderful teachers. I remember the primary-color rug in my kindergarten class, the Halloween parties and parading through the hallways in costume. Delightfully, I remember when the D.E.A.R. program was introduced, translating to Drop Everything And Read (which I never questioned). In my life, books have never been the plot line, just filler, but I will say that they have always been there. I’m thankful that I’ve grown to appreciate that.
I’m glad I stayed up to share this trip with whomever decides to read. I hope someone else goes looking for the books they remember as a kid. There’s so much more that I could tell about, but I want to hear someone else’s story, should this be a catalyst. I know my answers, but when did you really discover that you loved books? What are your earliest memories with one?

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Published in: on December 30, 2007 at 2:31 am  Comments (3)  

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  1. Thank you! A little sidetrip down memory lane is always nice. I, too, still have several of my Golden Books — tucked away in the safe as they are THAT precious to me. However, mine are somewhat older… more than half a century. I still have the first book I learned to read and, oh!, it is so much more than a book. I remember my mother reading the book to me — the warmth, closeness, and infinite security. My mom is gone now, so this book means more than I can describe. It is the first book I read aloud to my younger sister and my kindergarten class — the pride, joy, and excitement of sharing the story. I read the book to my children, too. I know that this same little book (and the closeness, sharing, and ‘magic’) is what ignited the passion to read in my own children. Again, thanks for the little trip down memory lane. (ah-h, the Nancy Drew books! That is another story…)

  2. Ah, Novel Dame! Once again, you have hit upon something I was going to ask! I wanted to ask if you recalled whether there was one particular book that really turned you into a reader or if there were several remembered books from childhood that helped shape you. You have mentioned several in this post.

    I have loved books since I can remember. They have been my constant friends and my refuge. I remember being read to by each of my grandparents and by my mother and father. Both of my grandmothers would recite poems that they had memorized in their school days. In my mind I can still remember my grandmother’s rendition of Longfellow’s Hiawatha! It was great! Perhaps you have read the following poem about the importance of family literacy:

    RICHER THAN GOLD

    You may have tangible wealth untold;
    Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
    Richer than I you can never be —
    I had a mother who read to me.
    — Strickland Gillilan (1869-1954)

    Here are some of my earliest (and fondest) childhood books:

    animal book—-My brother, sister, and I looked at an animal picture book so many times, the thing eventually came apart in our hands. It was a hard cover book with large photos of animals. I was fascinated by the sloth and the lemur! There is even a photo in my baby book of me looking at this book circa age 3.

    A Child’s Anthology of Literature– This was my maternal grandmother’s teaching textbook filled with poetry, fables, Bible stories, folktales, world mythology, and short stories. Both my grandmother and mother read to me out of this wonderful book. It is one of my prized possessions.

    Where the Wild Things Are–I read this to my dad when I was in second grade. He thought it was hysterical and wrote a note to my teacher that they both chuckled about for years. What I wouldn’t give to have that note!

    Alice in Wonderland

    The Wind in the Willows—-I still love to read the parts about Toad and his mania for his car!

    Good Night, Moon—-Loved it then, still love it!

    more modern children’s books:
    Eric Carle-especially The Very Busy Spider and The Very Hungry Catepillar

    Oma and Bobo by Amy Schwartz

    If I hadn’t been so lucky as to have been surrounded by a family of readers, I still would have been bitten by the reading bug when I read a book in the third grade called The Velvet Room by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. I vividly remember being swept away by the wonder of this book. It is a story of a girl who loves her family even as they are going through very difficult times. She discovers a few friends and survives by doing well in school.She finds an older mentor who recognizes her love of books, history, and learning. Then she discovers the velvet room, a place where she can escape to read books and forget her problems. This book was me! It was completely, thoroughly, forever and for always, me! The writer made me fall in love with books and with reading.

    If you can, write more about books that have changed your life or had important impact upon you!

  3. I knew that I loved books early on when I used to sit in the small hallway of my duplex with I was five or so years old. I would sit in the hall way and read Dr. Seuess, Sesame Street books that we had there. We didn’t have many, but I would read them over and over and over again. Sitting there in the hallway for hours. I would give the big reason why I knew I loved books back then but that would probably gross people out. And of course it escalated from there. I don’t read as many books as I used to (many because of video games and other distractions) but I still love to read, especially when it’s one of those 700 page books that keep me up until early in the a.m.


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