Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Childhood in Books: Part 3

I read a lot of book series when I was growing up, and I mean A LOT. I was never really into the "popular" book series though (I had to force my way through the first Harry Potter book, couldn't STAND Laura Ingles Wilder and wouldn't give Goosebumps or Animorphs the time of day). My mother would read the Jenny books to me when I was little (they were also her favorite books from when she was little) and I loved reading (at first my mom and I would alternate) the Betsy-Tacy books (Tib was kind of a buzzkill though...). We also read The Bernstein Bears and Curious George. I remember loving some of those, especially the one where George had to go to the hospital because he swallowed a puzzle piece (my mom is a nurse so I was obsessed with hospital books for a time)! The Serendipity books were real favorites, I think because of the illustrations (similar to the whole "Precious Moments" artwork) and The Grumpling was my favorite (they all had morals to them and I think that one taught table manners).

The first series I read completely independent were the Boxcar Children books. I remember everyone I knew at school absolutely LOVED them but I was always kind of "meh" about them (the characters would obsessively talk about food and that drove me crazy). I also use to get together with friends and read the Arthur books (the show was good too!) and we'd also read the Amelia's Notebook series.

When I got a little older I loved the Usborne Puzzle Adventure books and Nancy Drew (Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase was my favorite!). I also really liked the American Girl books, especially Addy (though I had the Samantha doll and my mother always said I looked like Molly). I think the Addy books were the best written in the series and it was also through those books that I learned about the Civil War. My all-time favorite book series, however, were the Dear America books. I remember my mother giving me Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie (about the Oregon Trail) and I read it in one sitting. My favorites were The Winter of Red Snow (about Valley Forge) and Standing in the Light (a girl abducted by Indians). I also really liked A Line in the Sand (about the Alamo) and I remember feeling really rattled by So Far From Home (about the Lowell Mills and Irish immigrants) because it was the first time a character I had grown to like died in the book.

One special series I grew up with were the My Book House books by Olive Beaupre Miller. They were my grandmother's when she was a girl in the early 1930s. Whenever my mother and I would go visit her, I got to read them. Then a few years ago, she gave me the series which I now keep will all my dearest books.

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