taking the idea from a 30 day writing challenge, this is day 12: favorite childhood books.
i have always loved to read, though i haven’t always taken the time to do it, especially in my adult life. it is a habit that i have truly missed, and i am trying to take advantage of this time in my life without full time work or full time school, or full time work And school, to get back to it. already it has been hugely rewarding. this love of mine began quite a long time ago, before i Could actually read, when my mom would read stories to my sister and to me each night before bed. the first two books on this list are from that time.
- green eggs and ham, by dr. seuss. i loved the rhyme, the fun illustrations, the bright orange cover. i loved sam-i-am, and the idea of green eggs and ham. once when we were quite small and mom had to travel for a business trip, she recorded herself reading green eggs and ham so we could still listen to her read it before bed. i even remember the old silver cassette recorder/player it was recorded on, and that at the end of the story, she reminded us when she returned we would be going on our annual trip to the outer banks. sharing the book in this way was a reminder of the constant presence of our mother’s love, even in her physical absence. and of course, the subject of green eggs and ham – trying something new and finding out you like it – was a beautiful lesson that admittedly probably took a little while to sink in 🙂
- amelia bedelia, by peggy parish. as my understanding of language developed, this series became a hilarious staple in the night time reading routine. i loved the play on words; how one word that sounded the same could mean different things, how different people could have different understandings of the same expressions, and the ridiculous situations poor amelia created because of these misunderstandings. she was so well-meaning, and was always forgiven (of course, there had to be another book!), but what a mess! additionally, i felt like i was learning adult things by hearing her stories. amelia bedelia was a real adult, and i could understand things better than she did. i loved the learning and the knowing, and of course, the laughing.
and the final book on my list of childhood favorites i read on my own in grade school. it was probably the longest book i had read at the time.
- where the red fern grows, by wilson rawls. i could not put this book down. i read and read and read and was late to dinner because i just had to get to the next page. i loved the relationship between billy and his two dogs. i loved the devotion the boy had to his pups before he even brought them home, working for 2 years to save up enough money to buy them himself. i loved that billy was a genuinely good human being. i loved how each of the three characters had their own unique personalities. i loved the authentic love between the three, and the raw emotions the story evoked. i loved that i felt like i knew them and celebrated and suffered with them. in fact, this book was the first ever to make me cry. i am definitely a crier, so the first will always have a special place in my heart. like old dan and little ann, names i will never forget.
- bonus book: i didn’t read this until high school, but it is technically a children’s book and i loved it. the little prince, by antoine de saint-exupery. there is just so much meaning behind every page. each part of the story tells another simple truth about life, love, and human happiness. i loved the way these messages were conveyed, through the children’s book format, to express that some of the deepest and and most difficult conundrums of adulthood aren’t in fact so complicated when stripped down to their essential questions. a lovely critique of the things that a society demands but which should not necessarily just be accepted at face value. for “one sees clearly only with the heart.”
all of this leads to a fact about me. i love feeling feelings. whether considered good or bad, i absolutely adore the power of words to unite us in a common understanding of our humanness. books and movies and art and music are most powerful when they tap into the core relate-ability of the human experience. these books established for me, in various ways, the beliefs i have about the connections between all people. for that reason they will always have a special place in my sappy sappy heart.
feel free to share your own favorites in the comments, if you’d like 🙂