March 17th, 2009

Books that stay

Over on that other social site, Facebook, Kate S. tagged me to make a list of books I’ve read that will stay with me forever. Reading over the estimable Kate’s list, I saw a few were kids books, some of the same ones I loved back in the day…and now. And in that randomly thematic way the web works, Pickle Me This has been looking into kids books, too, the current ones as well as the nostalgic.

So I’m going to do my whole list of kids’ books. It’s not that there aren’t tonnes of books with long words and swears that I hold as dearly as the books below. But I really did take these books into my heart in a different way. When you’re wee, stories are the world, and whatever you absorb at that age becomes part of your planet.

More practically, I absorbed these books in a different way from later ones because, the first half-dozen or so times I was “absorbing,” I wasn’t reading. All of these were read to me, ad nauseum, until I was able to start rereading them for myself. I was by no means an early reader, which is somewhat embarrassing to admit when so many authors knew their vocations when they began reading in the toddler years. But at least I had people (parents, mainly, but I’d conscript whatever readers I could) willing to aid and abet my longing for stories.

Maybe this is all why I still love to attend readings–something about being told a story can only be good for me. I also have reached the point (finally!) where I love to *do* readings, telling the stories instead of hearing them. Of course, thanks to the books below, I also have really positive associations with goats, oranges, *A Pilgrim’s Progress,* and anything that comes in the mail…oh, those formative years.

Children’s Books That Stay with Me (in no order)

1) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (and the sequels–*Little Men* and *Jo’s Boys*, but they weren’t as good).

2) Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White.

3) Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield.

4) Heidi by Joahanna Spyri (and the sequel, *Heidi Grows Up*, which wasn’t even written by Spyri and I didn’t like at all).

5) An Old-fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott.

6) Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery (and all the sequels, but the sequels had to be borrowed from the library, so I’ve read/heard them only once or twice, and don’t really remember too well what even happened in which book).

7) The Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder (the only series where I liked all the books equally–even the one written by the daughter, Rose, years later).

8) Stories for Children by Isaac Bashevis Singer.

9) Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott (yes, I had an Alcott thing growing up. But the sequel to *Eight Cousins* was still terrible, despite the wonderous title, *Rose in Bloom*).

10) My Little Kitten by Judy and Phoebe Dunn (one of these things is not like the others, I know! I was never much on picture books, but I was *obsessed* with this one–even just now seeing the cover on Amazon when I went to find the link filled me with delight. This is the only book on the list that I don’t occasionally reread, but really, maybe I should!)

11) Grimm’s Fairy Tales, red and green books, which I’m counting as one because I’m already over the limit.

On Bathurst Street at 2

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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