Back to the start

It’s hard to get away from the horror of the world this week, and our hearts go out to everyone much more immersed in it than we are.

For those of us in need of a distraction*, what’s more wholesome and good and right in the world than children’s books?  Nothing, I tell you.  So PW’s PWxyz blog has some for you, namely the books that made their staff big enough readers to become the kind of people who work at PW.  Not always children’s books, of course, but a few of those are among my childhood favorites as well.  Rachel Deahl’s reminiscence about The Bridge to Terabithia really strikes a chord with me, though I’m not sure I disliked it so much.  I knew what was going to happen and was determined not to care.  And then I did.  Boy, how I did.

For me, I’m not sure I can totally pinpoint a book.  Certainly the Laura Ingalls Wilder books were incredibly important to me growing up, as I’ve written about before.  If I try to trace it back to the first book I was passionate about, I’d say it would have to be something from the Cam Jansen series.  Do you remember Cam?  She had a photographic memory (hence her name), and she solved mysteries by puzzling together the clues hidden in her brain.  She was brilliant and feisty and dedicated and maybe a bit of a show off.

I like to think she’s still a role model for me today, though my memory isn’t quite photographic and I’ve never had to locate missing monkeys.

So what did it for you?  Was it a children’s book or something you encountered later in life?  When did you give yourself up to the reading gods and never turn back?

*Did that not work?  Try this.

P.S. Do you know about the group read Jim and I are doing?  Are you already reading Eleanor & Park?  We can’t wait to discuss with you.

4 Responses to Back to the start

  1. Joelle says:

    It was definitely the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace that made me want to writer. Betsy wrote from the time she was a little girl, and eventually grew up to be a writer, so it seemed totally plausible. More like a path than an impossible dream. And she had so much fun and great clothes along the way!

  2. Joelle says:

    “want to write” or “want to be a writer.” Clearly this is before coffee.

  3. Kellie Lovegrove says:

    My love affair with books probably started with The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss (well, anything he wrote actually). There was no limit to his imagination and I constantly push myself to the limits of mine because of him. I still love to read Dr. Seuss and his books have a place of honor on my bookshelf.

    Then there’s Laura Ingalls Wilder. Some of my best memories growing up are my mom tucking me in at night, lying beside me, and reading By the Banks of Plum Creek until I fell asleep. She read it so many times that we went through three copies of it. To this day it is one of my favorite books. Her writing gives me my ultimate goal as a writer. To write a book that people enjoy so much they want to start again as soon as they read the last word.

  4. Susanna says:

    Fun topic and list. I always loved books (I remember The Fire Cat was the first book I was so proud to read on my own), but when I read your question, I think for me the first book I loved so much was Little Women. I loved traveling back in time and finding the feisty Jo there, and the lessons she has to learn about herself and life and love and family, while she still insists on remaining herself even though it pains her. Almost as good was the sense of community around that book as I got older – especially the day I sat in the center of a theater full of almost exclusively women, watching the movie, and we all wept together when (spoiler alert!) Beth died. Such a great reminder of the way books show us our humanity and bring us together, even when we are huddled under a blanket with a flashlight, at the moment all alone.

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