I remember when I was a little girl and my throat didn't hurt
Friday afternoon (thank God!). Dan has inspired me today (which is a huge miracle given how poopy I'm feeling), so here's my list of favorite childhood books:
"From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" by E.L. Konigsburg - absolutely engrossing tale of siblings who run away and go to live at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. It wasn't until this past summer that I actually got to visit this museum, and the very first thing that I thought about what this book.
"Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott - what can you say about one of the all time classics of children's literature. This is the story of four sisters and their mother about the time of the American Civil War and their interactions with one another as they grow and change. It is a wholesome, loving look at family life in that time period and it was very comforting to a little girl in the 1970's whose father had disaappeared and whose favorite grandma lived on a different continent. It was the character of Jo from this story that first inspired me to write stories myself.
"Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White - I sobbed and sobbed at the end of this book. It's the story of a little pig and his friends in the barnyard, including a spider named Charlotte. I'm getting all misty just remembering. If you haven't read it, do yourself a favor and pick it up for the long weekend.
"Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing" by Judy Blume - I think this was probably the funniest story I read as a child. The story of Peter and his younger brother, affectionately known as "Fudge", will ring true to any older sibling. Fudge torments Peter with his childish antics while Peter struggles with the travails of being eight years old. Judy Blume wrote some pretty controversial stuff later on, but this book, along with the spin offs and sequels, is straightforwardly wonderful.
"Ballet Shoes" by Noel Streatfeild - I loved the whole "Shoes" series of stories, but this one was my very favorite. The stories all center around three sisters who dream of doing great things and then work hard to make their dreams come true. My grandma and mother were/are both from England, so I suppose that was part of the charm for me. I will definitely be buying all of these books for my stepdaughters!
"Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" by Kate Douglas Wiggin - I just loved this book because of the relationship between Rebecca and her Aunt Miranda. Rebecca is a strong, positive little girl, even when faced with daunting challenges. I get a warm feeling just remembering.
The "Little House" books by Laura Ingalls Wilder - Yes, these are the books which inspired the television series (which I also loved), but they are so much richer than the series ever was. The relationships Mrs. Wilder details between each of the characters, as well as the simple retelling of her childhood adventures, allowed me to feel as though I, too, was a little girl living in the midwest in the post American Civil War era.
"Sports Day at Blackberry Farm" by Jane Pilgrim - This is but one in the "Blackberry Farm" series of books. These are English, so many of my readers have probably never heard of them, but they were a mainstay in my reading as a young child. I can remember my mother sitting on the edge of my bed, reading these stories to me, over and over. Basically, it's about a farm family and the animals on the farm. Each of the stories focuses on a different animal family. Beautifully illustrated, I have been trying to acquire as many of the original books as possible, even before I knew I'd have stepchildren to read them to, just because they're such wonderful books.
"Noddy at the Seaside" by Enid Blyton - This is another English series of stories that I loved as a child. Noddy is always getting into trouble for something or other, although he never means to and always has good intentions (much like me as a child). The books are brightly illustrated and easily understood by even the youngest children. My grandma always used to give me "Noddy" books when I'd visit, so they also remind me of my little box room in her house, with a cup of tea and a biscuit to keep me company while I read.
Thank you so much, Dan, for bringing back so many wonderful memories. Isn't it sort of sad that most adult literature doesn't evoke these same sort of feelings?