I remember at age 4 begging—begging—my mother to teach me how to read. She waved me off with an unconcerned, You'll learn to read in school. Back in those days, sometime around the Great Flood, children weren't taught to read until first grade, so I had to wait TWO MORE YEARS before I could start reading. And once I did, watch out! I actually don't recall what I read during first or second grade, except for the Dick and Jane series, but third grade was a milestone for me because . . . I got myself a library card.
When I was a kid, long ago and years before the wheel was invented, ankle biters didn't need a picture ID or a parent's permission or a pint of blood to check out books. The nice librarian hooked me up with a library card, talked me through the process of checking out and returning materials, then set me loose in the children's section.
I clearly remember the very first book I checked out: The Wizard of Oz. Oh, yeah, baby. After I finished that piece of heaven, I read every single title in the series. Then I moved on to Nancy Drew. Then the Hardy Boys. Then a fantastic series about Irish Setters. Then I discovered Agatha Christie—LOVED her, although she ruined my ability to sit through any kind of a mystery movie because I now can almost always figure out whodunnit. Except for Presumed Innocent. I never saw that one coming.
Here in no particular order are a few books that I really loved as a kid—back when woolly mammoths roamed the Alaskan tundra—books that I read more than once. Except for the Diary of Anne Frank. Can you believe that I read that when I was only 9 years old? I had no idea about the Holocaust or what it meant for Anne, until the end of her diary. I turned the final page and . . . nothing. Just a short epilogue, which stated when and where she was last seen. I've never read the book again. I don't need to, because I carry her story with me in my heart. God bless that precious little girl.
Here are the five books from my youth (can you tell I'm a girl?) that first came to my mind when I read Stephanie's question, What books did you love growing up?
Diary of Anne Frank
Anne of Green Gables
The Secret Garden
A Little Princess
Dinner last night: soccer team pizza party
Exactly one year ago today: Go Ahead, Make My Day