Thursday, October 04, 2007

Books I've Saved From Childhood

Imagine my happiness and surprise when I saw the cover of SAD DAY, GLAD DAY on Esme's blog this week! I thought I was the only person alive who still had a copy of that book. (I can't find it right now but I know it is in the house somewhere.)I thought it was on my shelf upstairs with a few other books from my childhood--books that I've never been able to part with. After reading Esme's post, I went upstairs to look at the small stack of books I've saved. It got me thinking about what it is about these books that has made me hold on to them and what does that all tell me about myself.

My mother clearly knew how to buy books. I seem to have a book for every major event in my life. She bought me SAD DAY, GLAD DAY when I was 5 and we moved to a new house. I still have a copy of TWO NEW BABIES by Agnesann McRobert. This was a story we read while waiting for my brother to be born. (One baby in the book was the new sibling, the other was a doll for the older sibling.) My parents clearly taught me that books help you make sense of life. What a gift!

I also saved an old favorite--TIME FOR A RHYME by Ellen Wilke. I didn't remember much about it except that I loved it and we read it over and over. When I opened it today, I realized why. It is such a fun book. Each page offers a question about a rhyme like "Let's try to guess what rhymes with spoon. An easy word is..." and then you turn the page. A fun interactive book. (By the way, it is very scary when you find your favorite books from childhood on a site called goantiques.com!?)

A PRESENT FOR THE PRINCESS by Jane Lowe Paschall was a big favorite of mine. It is about a beautiful blonde princess who gets a thoughtful gift from a blind boy. I remember it as a very sweet and happy story. Not a bad princess story, I must say. She wasn't saved by any male character and was a good, kind person.

I also kept a few fairy tales--THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA being my favorite--it has always been my favorite version until last year when Lauren Child's version was published.

I think I had all of THE WITCH NEXT DOOR (Norman Bridwell) books. We got them from the book orders and I loved the idea that a witch could live next door. Between these books and the TV shows I Dream of Jeanie and Bewitched, it seemed possible!

And I had JIGGERS (Joy Muchmor Lacey) A book about a girl and her puppy. (This one seems to be on a site that calls it "vintage". UGH!)

As I got older, I loved THE SECRET SEVEN by Enid Blyton (It totally stresses me out now that these kids got in strangers' cars to solve mysteries!?) and all of the BETSY (Carolyn Haywood) books. I think BETSY and the BOYS was my favorite although I liked when she got to name her sister herself! And of course, there was NANCY DREW! It looks like these books are still in print!

What does this tell me about my childhood reading--I had a ball. Obviously, the quality of the books didn't matter because most of these books would not pass our quality literature tests today. Oh, I still have my copy of WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE and other classics, but for some reason, these other books were also important enough that I haven't tossed them. I have been a reader for as long as I can remember--I won't even tell you the copyright on some of these.

And I found this great source for all of your childhood books! Childhoodbooks.com specializes in books from 1950 until now. You can search your favorite titles and purchase copies of those you've lost track of. (And I must say, I think Childhood Books is a much better name than anything with the word ANTIQUE or VINTAGE in it!)

This was fun to do. Thanks ESME for reminding me about some of those forgotten books of childhood. It was fun to revisit. What are your favorite books from childhood--the ones that you've kept over the years?

4 comments:

  1. I remember a book me and my siblings read a lot when we were young, and I think it was titled The Nothing? I'm going to have to go look it up. We also read lots of Dr. Seuss, and not the limited vocab ones. We read Horton Hears A Who and The Butter Battle Book... (I still have these). There are others too; these are just the ones that immediately pop into my head.

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  2. I love reading about people's favorite childhood books--most especially when they've kept them! (Or are trying to find them.) I've kept a lot of my favorites, too--so many of them. Down A Dark Hall (and most of Lois Duncan's other books); Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery; The Magic Grandfather by Jay Williams; the whole The Littles series by John Peterson, and so many more. I reread them every few years and still feel that same joy and satisfaction that comes from a well-loved book.

    Thanks, too, for sharing that site where you can find out-of-print books. Another great source, if you didn't know about it, is www.abebooks.com I've purchased so many out-of-print books there at reasonable prices.

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  3. You made me have a glad day, especially since I now realize that all I ever really wanted to be when I grew up was The Witch Next Door.

    So many great books that are now out of print...glad they are still in our hearts!

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  4. This summer, I visited the parents of a child who goes to school with my daughter. I saw The Witch Next Door on their table, and kvelled. I told the mom that when I was a little girl, I was really, really into witches a la The Witch Next Door, The Witch Family, the one where the little witch doesn't want to be a witch's child and then it turns out she's the daughter of a nymph, etc. The mom said, "Really? We're witches!" i.e. Wiccans. I couldn't help it-- I glanced over at her spice rack. In Joss Whedon's universe, witches do lots of things with spices.;)

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