Friday, April 5, 2013

Beloved Books from My Childhood

To coincide with a link party happening over on Kelly's Korner Blog today, I am sharing a quick blog about some of my very favorite children's books.

This is not known to many, but as a child I was obsessed with books. The credit is not mine; it is my mother's. She brought us to The Berkshire Athenaeum (Pittsfield's public library) ritualistically. It was a part of every single week for us - heading to the library to spend a couple of hours going through shelves and shelves of books, picking out 15-20 of them to bring home in the huge, special canvas library bag that my mother carried. We were such enthusiastic patrons of the library that our family was even selected as "Library Family of the Year" once. True story - our family name is there on a plaque as we speak.

I loved opening a book and flipping through its pages, breathing in the very distinct smell. Sometimes we'd bring home a brand new library book - those ones smelled especially fresh and delicious. To this day, the scent of a children's book brings back fond memories. And yes, the smell of a children's book is noticeably different than the smell of any other kind of book, in case you were wondering.

Here are some of my favorite books from my childhood... Please note that these were the ones that immediately came to my mind when I began to think about writing this blog. If I sat and thought about it for longer, I'd no doubt come up with a list of books that's WAY too long to be suitable to make you read through.

Caps for Sale
by Esphyr Slobodkina
There's a Wocket in My Pocket 
by Dr. Seuss
By Johanna Spyri
(This particular Great Illustrated Classics version is the one I owned as a child.)
The Twits
by Roald Dahl
Mrs. Rumphius
by Barbara Cooney
Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale 
by John Steptoe
(Incredible illustrations in this one!)

My favorite book series included:

Sweet Valley Twins - I feel like every young girl should read these books. The main characters were well-behaved, polite girls who were both intelligent and curious - with lots of different interests. Good role models for pre-teen girls, #IFYOUASKME.  My favorite was this special Christmas edition:

Boxcar Children - Well this is sort of dark but these were stories about a whole family of orphaned children who lived out of an abandoned boxcar in the woods. Mystery-solving and adventures ensue. Obvi.

Encyclopedia Brown - These were stories about a young prodigy named Leroy (aka Encyclopedia aka Big L.Roy aka E-Breezy aka YA BOY E!) who solved crimes and mysteries using acute observational skills and facts he'd learned while poring over texts and books, as boy geniuses do. I swear, the Encyclopedia Brown books taught me everything I needed to learn about critical thinking and observation skills in day-to-day life. To this day, I find myself being intuitive about certain things or picking up on certain details because of knowledge I'd acquired in those books. I'm definitely going to #make my kids read them, too. Just because I don't want them to be dumb idiots.

Nancy Drew - Now here's a bitch who knows how to solve a mystery. Wow, actually I guess a lot of my interests as a child involved me sharpening my detective skills via the books I was reading. Guess that panned out really well for me, career-wise.  #CommunicationsDegree #DoesFacebookStalkingCountAsBeingASleuth?

I'm not a big reader these days. Oh, who am I kidding? I don't read at all nowadays except for lots and lots of stuff on computer screens. But reading was a huge part of my childhood and there's no doubt in my mind that it helped me become a sharper thinker, a better writer, and a better communicator in general. Not to mention it inspired me to be creative - both by honing my appreciation for illustration in picture books and strengthening my imagination by forcing me to visualize characters and settings myself in non-picture books.

Thanks to Kelly's Korner Blog for inspiring this blog post! Head to her blog today to browse through lots of others' blogs about their favorite childhood books.

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  1. many favorites..

    xo janika

  2. I LOVE The Boxcar Children. It was such a great series!

  3. encyclopedia brown was my boy! i think i might have to pick some of those up...

  4. ^^ And there you have it folks. An "Encyclopedia Brown" endorsement from an actual genius!!! Everyone, please be aware that Angie is the smartest person at the party, always. If SHE was reading Encyclopedia Brown, you know you should, too. ;)


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