Ramblings and Ruminations

Books of My Childhood

What ho, chappies!  How’s the jolly old world treating you?

 

One of my followers, Marilyn, said on a recent survey that they would like to see a post about:  “Books read throughout your youth.”

“Huh!” I thought.

 

 

I also thought that was a fun idea for a post, and thus . . . we have the post!  *bows impressively*

Now, obviously, this list isn’t conclusive.

 

 

I didn’t include EVERY book that impacted my childhood, for fear of blowing up my blog, but below are some highlights!  Time to get lost in the bookshelves!

 

 

THE PICTURE BOOK ERA.

THE LOST SHEEP BY MARK INKPEN

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Perhaps one of the definitive Allison books.

My mom would read this book out loud to me, and every time we got to the page where the shepherd wants to celebrate the return of the lost sheep, I would imitate the happy woollies in the illustration and throw my singularly short arms up in the air and cry:  “Let’s have a party!”

Pretty much my favorite words, still, to this day.

 

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BEDTIME FOR FRANCES BY RUSSELL HOBAN

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Why did I love this one so much? Perhaps because of the adorable illustrations by the marvelous Garth Williams or perhaps because I also never liked going to bed, just like Frances.

My copy of this book is actually quite worn because I looked at it so often. Especially the page where Frances and her family is eating cake.  I suppose my cake infatuation was showing itself early, because I think that cake looks utterly irresistible and perfectly moist – what do you think?

 

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THE GRANDPA SERIES BY JAMES STEVENSON

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My family still quotes from these books.  Yump and Nump are a regular part of our vocabulary.  And years later, as an artist myself, I think my style is similar to Mr. Stevenson’s and I use his artwork as inspiration to approach my illustrations with the same freedom and quirkiness.

 

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THE BUILDING CHRISTIAN CHARACTER SERIES BY MICHAEL P. WAITE

Oh man, talk about childhood flashbacks.  If I had a nickel for every time I read one of these books, I would have a lot of nickels.  I loved the fun names, the vivid illustrations and the spiritual insights.  Even as a child, I was drawn to any story that was trying to relate spiritual themes.  Not much has changed!

 

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THE BOOK OF JONAH BY PETER SPIER

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My dad would read this aloud to me and my twin.  Jonah was always an event. We would squash up on either side of him as he turned the pages.  He also made sure that we had all the places memorized, Joppa, Ninevah – he would pause, tap his finger underneath the name, and we would all say the place out loud.  I can’t recall now why my dad liked this particular book, but I know it will always be very special to me because I can hear his voice reading it out loud to me.

 

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THE TREASURE TREE & THE TWO TRAILS BY JOHN TRENT

 

These wonderfully illustrated books were about understanding individuals better, and encouraging siblings to work as a team.  My wonderful mom (who loved to delight us) surprised us greatly when, upon reaching the final chapter where the heroes are feasting on chocolate hearts, she came back from the next room with handfuls of chocolate hearts which she tossed around the room like confetti!

 

 

 

NOW TELL ME – WHO ELSE GREW UP READING ABOUT BUNGEE BEARS?  Your childhood was not complete without them.

 

THE CHAPTER BOOK ERA

 

THE MANDIE SERIES BY LOIS GLADYS LEPPARD

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The Mandie series was actually my first official fandom.

 

 

I wrote a letter to the authoress and in return receive a form letting me know I was now part of the official fan club and I got several other Mandie themed items, such as bookmarks.  Even though I am OVER the Mandie series, I could kick myself a million times for not saving all the kitsch!

 

THE BOXCAR CHILDREN SERIES BY GERTRUDE CHANDLER WARNER

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I had finally reached that point where I was really starting to get this whole reading thing, but I couldn’t handle anything too complicated and I wanted a lot of the same thing.  I think one of the other things that fascinated me about the Boxcar Children were the wonderfully colorful covers.  They looked so pretty all lined up on my shelf.

 

THE HENRY AND MUDGE SERIES BY CYNTHIA RYLANT

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I inhaled Henry and Mudge.  Again, I was captivated by the illustrations and I was (and still am) dog crazy so, doubtless, the big, slobbery and thoroughly-furry hero was a big draw.

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Still with me, friend?

 

 

THE MIDDLE GRADE ERA

 

THE DERWOOD INC. SERIES BY JERI MASSI

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This series (in particular book 1) really influenced my own writing style, with it’s fun and quirky characterization and wacky scenarios, I think you will find its echoes in my own stories.  This story never fails to capture my attention and make me laugh to this day!

 

THE AMERICAN GIRL SERIES BY VARIOUS AUTHORS

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Me and probably every other girl in the United States, right?  This series was merely one of dozens upon dozens of historical fiction books I read growing up, sparking my love for history.  My favorite in the series were probably Josefina and Kirsten – though the Molly series was cute too.

One highlight about the American Girl series I shall always remember is that reading one of the Kirsten books is the first time when I could read cursive by myself.  One of the illustrations featured a letter from Kirsten Larsen’s relatives and I was so proud of myself for deciphering the spidery handwriting!

 

THIS ISLAND ISN’T BIG ENOUGH FOR THE FOUR OF US! BY GERY GREER AND BOB RUDDICK

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I still cannot even mention this title or look at this book without cracking up.  These are truly some of the funniest authors I’ve ever read and while I love almost anything by these authors, this one was a definite favorite.  The battle of the sexes, bad camping experiences and a competitive race to victory simply never grow old.

 

THE LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE SERIES BY LAURA INGALLS WILDERS

 

I have wonderful and vivid memories of my twin and me smashed up against Mom as she read this series aloud to us.  And after that first time, I have read this series again and again.  From that little girl pretending to be a pioneering Ingalls girl as she played in her basement to an adult, it never grows old.

 

THE THREE INVESTIGATORS SERIES BY VARIOUS AUTHORS

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My mom read nearly the entire series aloud to us.  I shall never forget that first stormy day when she read aloud The Secret of Terror Castle and sparked a life long love for the Three Investigators.  It seems like the Three Investigators marathon went on for years.  We were always on the look out for another book in our library system or in an antique store and would pounce on every volume eagerly.  I am still SUCH A FAN OF THIS SERIES AND WILL ALWAYS LOVE IT.

 

The American Adventure series: By VARIOUS AUTHORS.

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My mom read a lot of these aloud to my twin and me and this series was one of those things that just deepened my love of history.  There were about 50 books in the series, so it took a while to go through all of them, prolonging the adventure and the fun.  I especially enjoyed that this series often focused on less well-known aspects of our history, such as Queen Anne’s War, The Great Awakening, and minutiae about the Western Expansion.

 

GETTING OLDER

 

THE REDWALL SERIES BY BRIAN JACQUES

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This epic series captured me when I was about twelve or thirteen and once you’re a Redwall fan, there’s no going back.  Unlike many children’s authors who dumb down their vocabulary, Jacque’s rich descriptions forced me to read each book with a dictionary beside me.

 

 

Plus, we have cool animals, swords, battles, quests and life-threatening adventure – all kinds of good stuff.  I like me some good action.

 

REB AND THE REDCOATS AND ENEMY BROTHERS BY CONSTANCE SAVERY

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My mom read these books aloud to my siblings and me, but that is not all that makes them special.  Constance Savery is one of my top 5 favorite authors, and these books will always be some of my favorites of all time.  These stories are full of heart and Truth.  They never fail to make me laugh, to move me to my core, or to deeply inspire me as few other books have.

 

BEAUTY BY ROBIN MCKINLEY

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A beautifully written tale with two thoughtful main characters – this was a story I read obsessively for years and year.  I can tell you most assuredly that this was one of the books that not only taught me how to write, but really got me focused on writing fairy tales.  For a time, pretty much all I wrote were retellings of THIS retelling (caught me some slack, I was about twelve) – one Beauty and the Beast retelling after another.

I set fairy tales aside for years, but I finally returned to my roots with The Tales of Ambia.  🙂

 

LITTLE WOMEN BY LOUISA MAY ALCOTT

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I’m positive I have large chunks of this classic memorized.  And I actually love the moralizing in the book that so many people bash; I believe that’s part of what makes it great.  Strip that away, and you have nothing but a rather Hallmark-y story.  that is why no movie version will ever compare to the book, because they focus solely on the romances.  But the book was about so much more, it was about growth pains, about sacrificial love, about finding your place and trusting God.  Incorporate these great messages and themes and  all of the “moralizing” that modern readers don’t like . . . and we have the classic we know and love today.

 

So what about you, friend?  What were your favorite books of your childhood?  What dusty old picture books are worn and torn on your bookshelf?

Lastly (and this is important) –

 

What topic would you like me to post about? – because this “on demand” and requested post was lots of fun!  Is there something specific you’d like me to blog about?

 

 

Let me know EVERYTHING the comments!

 

 

 

 

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12 thoughts on “Books of My Childhood

  1. My mom started homeschooling us with Five in a Row, so we were exposed to tons of lovely illustrated books, My Very First Last Time, Lentil, Blueberries for Sal, Miss Rumphius, and tons more. We also loved Henry and Mudge, Frog and Toad, Mr. Putter and Tabby.

    Little House (the original and then later her ancestors and daughters), Boxcar Children, and The American girls were I think my main reads until I was a bit older.

    For middle grade: I loved Pamela Wall’s Abby (South Seas Adventure series), The Borrowers by Mary Norton, Grandma’s Attic series and Grandma’s Attic Novels by Arleta Richardson, Narnia, arah’s Journey Series by Wandra Luttrell, Annie Henry: Adventures in the American Revolution by Susan Olasky, Calico Bush by Rachel Field, and occasionally the Bobbsey twins (when I was at my grandparents, they had an old set).

    So many of the ones you mentioned looked cute, need to file away for my niece (my first gift to her was the Frances books, I think my favorite was the picnic when she is fighting with Albert? and makes up a hilarious poem) and future children.

    1. BLUEBERRIES FOR SAL!! Oh my goodness, I LOVED that one as a child! Such unique illustrations.

      *grins* Those three series were such pivotal reads for so many young girls! The only spin-off series for the Little House books that I ever really got into though were the ones about Caroline.

      AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! THE SOUTH SEAS ADVENTURES!! Oh man. I KNEW IT. I KNEW I would post this and then wish I had included a dozen other titles, and THAT SERIES is something I should have included. I read those obsessives! As well as the Grandma’s Attic novels!

      Sadly, I didn’t discover The Borrowers until recently, but I read a few of the Bobbsey Twin books! And, of course, Narnia was always a big part of my life – although I was first introduced to the series through Focus on the Family’s Radio Theater productions.

      AWW, A NIECE! How wonderful for you! 😍 How old is she? I have plenty of recommendations – far more than I included here!

      Bedtime for Frances is actually the only Frances book I ever read because after that first one I think they changed illustrators, and I cannot love a Frances book that has not been illustrated by the remarkable Garth Williams. 😛

  2. Oh, I see some familiar covers!

    I don’t think we had Bedtime for Francis, but we did have A Bargain For Francis, which miiiight have given me trust issues, lol!

    Also, I’m so mad because you’d think that with all the girls that read American Girl, I would have known at least a few of them. But did I? NO. For some reason when I was a kid, none of the girls that I knew liked them??? 🙁 My favorites were Kit & Josefina, although I also like Samantha and Felicity. I actually have the Josefina story collection like the picture you have on here, except somewhere along the line it got water spilled on it and half the pages are stuck together, so that’s my sob story 🙁 🙁 🙁

    I also liked Little House on the Prairie and loved Little Women, although I have to admit my favorite Louisa May Alcott book is an Old-Fashioned Girl. And I admit I rather like the moralizing too 🙂

    1. Hey Hayden!! Thanks for commenting!

      HAHA – now I’m curious about what A Bargain For Frances was about? 🤔

      WHAT – awww, that’s a shame! :/ I knew a few girls who liked them, and my twin played with them. That’s so funny, I owned Josefina, my twin owned Kit and Samantha, and my older sister had Felicity! 😲

      We had the Kit collection as well as the Josefina too! I remember picking them up when I was little. They had so much weight after those original slim volumes, and they felt so ROYAL with the gilt edges and the silk ribbon. 😁

      AHHHCK, that’s terrible!! 😢 Maybe the copy could be replaced?

      YES, THANK YOU – FINALLY!!! Someone who likes the moralizing in Louisa May Alcott’s books – MAN, I’ve been waiting for the entirety of my social media existence for this!!! The moralizing was such an important and lovely part of her writing! It’s always frustrating when people are enamored with the romance bits (as if it were some common Hallmark film) and forget all the deep and thoughtful themes of Alcott’s writing. :/

      Anyway, your comment made me happy! 🙂

  3. I’ve never heard of the Grandfather series, but it looks like something my youngest brother (and I) would love. The Little House on the Prairie Series is a good one, but I’ve only discovered that in the last year or so.
    I was raised on a steady diet of Robert Munsch and Dr. Seuss, mainly thanks to my aunt, and eventually moved on to the Rupert Annuals. I can’t seem to find anyone else who has read the Rupert books, though.
    Next topic for a blog post? Make a menu based off books. I should like to do this myself, actually, but I want to see what you would whip up.

    1. *SHOVES GRANDPA SERIES IN YOUR FACE* READ IT, READ IT!! I’m dying for others to know their utter hilarity so that I can gab about them with someone else! *grins*

      I’ve had so many classic children’s books that I’ve only recently discovered, so I know what you mean!

      Oh dearie – I’m afraid I’ve never heard of Robert Munsch or the Rupert Annuals. I’ve heard of Dr. Suess, of course – who hasn’t it? 😛

      OOO – I like this idea!! You mean something like this?

      Salad: (insert book recommendation)
      Main Course: (insert book Recommendation)
      Dessert: (insert book recommendation)

      Or something more like this?

      Soup of the Day: (insert book rec)
      Chef’s Specialty: (insert book rec)
      Burgers and Subs: (insert book rec)
      Kid’s Menu: (insert book rec)

      Am I understanding that correctly? *furrows brow* That sounds like so much fun!

      1. Rupert is more of a U.K thing. I wouldn’t have known about them either, if it wasn’t for a U.K. loving great grandmother. Maybe Munsch isn’t as well known outside of Canada?

        I actually hadn’t thought of it in book recommendations, but that’s an excellent idea! (book recommendations seem to be your forte).

        1. OOO – now I have questions! Did you grow up knowing your great grandmother, Blue? And are you Canadian? *is curious* That is so awesome!

          Ahh, okay – I misunderstood then! I’d love to message you and clarify that bit!

          Aww, thank you! I do love recommending books. 😛

  4. What a fun post!!! Going back to childhood books makes me so happy. Such lovely nostalgia!

    I remember The Treasure Tree! I didn’t have it myself, but my bestie did and we looked through it together. Didn’t each of the animals have one of the four personality types ( Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholic, Phlegmatic)? Or is my memory totally failing me? Haha.

    I was DEFINITELY alllll about the American Girl books. I had and read them ALL (up through Kaya). The obsession was strooong. Kirsten was one of my faves too! I also loved Felicity, Samantha, and Molly. Ah good times, good times.

    And a huge YES to Beauty and Little Women. I absolutely adore those books. <3

    A series that was a GINORMOUS part of my childhood was the Betsy-Tacy series. It was one of those series where the characters start out young (like…5 o.o) and by the end of the series they're young adults getting married. I felt like I grew up with the characters. They're so special to me!

    I just loved this post. It made me happy! Thank you for sharing all this nostalgic goodness with us. ^_^

    1. Eee – thank you!! *smiles* I know! I’m so glad Marilyn suggested I do this post, because it was such a lovely visit to my childhood!

      Ahh, The Treasure Tree! <3 Yes, they all had a specific personality type and were sort of sorted into personality groups but, eh, I'm not familiar with those four types you mentioned it? *scratches head* There are SO MANY personality break downs now. 😛

      You were more hardcore than me! I kind of stopped before Kaya, although I loved all her stuff. Some fun little accessories for all of them! Yes, GOOD MEMORIES, EVERY ONE OF THEM.

      High five!!! Those are both so amazing novels.

      YES, I've seen you mention Betsy-Tacy so many times!! Sadly, I missed that fandom growing up. :/

      Aww, thank you, Christine! So glad you enjoyed it! I know I did! 🙂

  5. Derwood Inc.? American Girl? The Boxcar Children? Girl, we are so ALIKE. :0 Betsy-Tacy, Caddie Woodlawn and the Grandma’s Attic books also made serious impressions on my bookshelves. Black Beauty, The Little White Horse, The Chronicles of Narnia, Tom Sawyer, The Little Women books, Redwall, The Sword Bearer..honestly, I just couldn’t get enough of good old lit, even back then!! Lol

    Mmmmm…a post you could write about…how you came to write the Tales of Ambia , and what books you’d like to write in the future??

    *roars with pent-up laughter* My predictive text changed ‘Ambia’ to ‘Zambia’!

    1. YOU’VE READ THEM, ABBIE??? AHHHHH!!! *hugs* Yes, we are! My goodness! Grandma’s Attic, Narnia, and Caddie Woodlawn were a big deal for me, as well! *fist bumps*

      Ooo, great suggestion! I shall be sure to jot that idea down for Allison’s Well.

      HAHAHAHAHA! Oh drat that predictive text! It does the same thing to me! EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Ambia becomes Zambia. Just . . . WHAT???

      GIF

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