Two weeks ago, I invited you, my readers, to share your favorite books from childhood. Here is the final installment of your reading memories:
Before I could devour books on my own, the earliest stories I remember were read to me by my mother, so the pictures carried the story for me. I memorized the artwork in Bible stories and in stories like Heidi by Johanna Spyri. Even today, the mental picture of the young Heidi sleepwalking, wearing a long white nightgown, brings me back to the story—an orphan girl who when living in the city became homesick for her grandpa and the mountains. Looking back now, I think this story probably gripped me because of the conflicts of the memorable characters, so unlike my own life as a preschooler.
Avis, Newfolden, Minnesota
The earliest ones I can remember - from when I was three or so, and some of which I still have in the attic! - were Cyril the Squirrel, Miss Sniff, and a wonderful Cinderella. But I think one of the books which impressed me when I was about thirteen was The Diary of Anne Frank. I can actually see myself in my room reading this book and being so moved. As I teacher I also recommended books like Number the Stars and another favorite, The Devil’s Arithmetic, as important books about the Holocaust. I remember one my mother remembered from HER childhood, The Little Minister. And one of my all-time favorites - still, to this day - Alice in Wonderland! It is brilliant!
Sandy, Lacombe, Louisiana
Nancy Drew mysteries! I think I read them all. An avid reader, I also snuck books from my mama’s bookcase. I read Jaws and The Exorcist when I was just 11 years old. Yeah, that was not my best idea. Be careful, Little Eyes, what you see…
Shelby, Crystal, Minnesota
I suppose Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy by Henry Kissinger just cements my place in the warped corral. But I did read it when I was 10 years old. I went on to read Chemical and Biological Warfare by Seymour Hersh in 9th grade. The teacher wouldn’t take it as my book review until he quizzed me on the thing. I used to drive the librarians crazy at the bookmobile: I’d read every book and started on the college level stuff when I was in grade school. Thus, the me you get today.
Joe, Saint Paul, Minnesota
I loved the book Snow Treasure written by Marie McSwiggen. The story was about Norwegian children who hid bars of gold on their sleds and took them down the mountain to the harbor to smuggle them out of the country right under the noses of Nazi soldiers. My parents and I all read the Little House books that I brought home from my elementary school library. In high school I worked at the public library which was a very uncool job, but it exposed me to many wonderful books.
Kathy, Maple Grove, Minnesota
I liked the Maud Hart Lovelace books, Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and then I started reading trashy romance novels my aunts left at my grandparents’ house. I was a little young to be reading them for sure.
Micara, New Market, Minnesota
Any book about a horse! Walter Farley’s “The Black Stallion” series, the C.W. Anderson “Billy and Blaze” series, anything by Marguerite Henry and Sam Savitt (beautiful illustrator too!), and pretty much every other book on the subject I could get my hands on.
I grew up in a small town, and your prompt brought back warm memories of the excitement that I felt when the bookmobile would come to town. I would hope and wish and pray that there would be a new horse book for me to check out!
Gina, Rochester, Minnesota
*Miss an installment of the blog? Or want to catch the story from the beginning? Visit http://www.tamarajorell.com/blog-entries-by-date
*Names in this blog have been changed to protect my family, neighbors, and friends in the neighborhood, and in a nod of appreciation to the beloved Swedish author Maj Lindman, I’ve renamed my three blondies Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka.