Monday, May 23, 2011

Childhood Favorites

by Cecelia Dowdy
What are your favorite childhood stories? Which books really resonated with you?

If you know me very well, you'll know that I LOVE READING! It's one of the few things in my life that has been constant from early childhood until now. When I think about my time as a kid, I think about some of my favorite books. I've listed A FEW of them here, but, as I think about it, I'm sure there are others:

1. The Dick And Jane Series - Actually, I don't consider this one a "favorite" but, these books kind of stay in my mind because these are the books that were used to teach me to read. I just remember the joy of being able to string words together and to actually read an entire book aloud!
2. Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House Series - I read these books over and over again. I really enjoyed seeing these characters through the pages of these novels! The family went through lots of trouble in the wilderness and Laura had lots of struggles with her nemesis, Nelly Olsen. There was also a popular TV series on in the seventies that was based upon the characters in the Little House books. I watched most of the episodes of Michael Landon's series, too.

3. The Boxcar Children - A group of four orphaned children hide out in an abandoned boxcar to escape the care of their "evil" grandfather. The rest of the series focuses on their being raised by their grandpa and the adventures they faced. I read this entire series a couple of times I believe when I was around nine or tenish?

4. The Nancy Drew Mysteries - the originals. I read the original Nancy Drew mysteries when I was in the fifth grade. I was mesmerized by this courageous, smart, 18-year-old woman who solved mysteries and...she didn't accept payment for her services. Her mother died when she was three and she was raised by her lawyer father, Carson Drew and her housekeeper, Hannah Gruen (sp?).

5. Heidi
6. The Secret Garden

I recall reading Heidi twice and I believe I read The Secret Garden more than once. Both of these stories involved ill children, struggling to get well. In Heidi, she lives in the mountains with her grandfather, the Alm Uncle (sp?) and there's a shepard boy named Peter in this story too. Heidi loves to read and I recall her reading to a blind woman in the story. I believe this book took place in the Swiss Alps. My memories of The Secret Garden are a bit sketchy, but I recall teh garden served as a solace to a sick child as the youngster struggled to get better.

So, what are your favorite childhood stories? Why were they your favorites? Have you read any of the stories that I've listed above?

~Cecelia Dowdy~


Molly Noble Bull said...

Dear Cecelia,
My favorite childhood books were Tom Sawyer and Little Women. Both motivated me to become who I am today, and I saw the movies from which these books came before I read the books.
Jo (in Little Women) had a boyfriend who ended up marrying her sister, and Tom Sawyer had a girlfriend, Becky Thatcher.
Tom and Becky attended a one room school, and though the characters in the book were children, Tom Sawyer was the first romance novel I ever read. As a result, I became a school teacher and later a romance novelist.
Now you know the rest of the story.

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Hey Molly

I read Little Women when I was in middle school. It appears to be a favorite for lots of people!

Funny how Tom Sawyer was the first romance novel you ever read!

PatriciaW said...

I'm a Little Women fan too. In fact, my mother gave me the whole set of books (there are six), including Jo's Boys and Little Men. I must have been in middle school at the time. I read and reread these books so many times.

Childhood books? In addition to all of the ones you have pictures, I enjoyed The Happy Hollisters series (about a family that always inadvertently found themselves in the middle of a mystery). Encyclopedia Brown series. Ramona series. The Good Earth.

Pretty much anything I could get my hands on, since I also read my older siblings and even my mother's books.

Teresa Slack said...

Patricia, a lady after my own heart. I read most of the same ones. Encyclopedia Brown rocked! My grandma had a set of Happy Hollister books and we read them every summer. I checked out a diff Nancy Drew mystery every day at lunch at the pub library across the street from my jr high.
I think I'm the only girl who didn't like the Little House books. I read every mystery and mystery series I got my hands on. Anybody remember, The Mystery of the Red Carnations? I think it was part of a series too.

Cecelia said...

I recall seeing other children read Encyclopedia Brown but I never read it! I did read the Ramona series and I really enjoyed those! There was Ramona, her sister Beatrice...and wasn't Henry Huggins their friend/neighbor...or maybe I'm confusing everything. But, I think they were all friends and there was also a series about Henry Huggins (sp?). In one book, he'd lost his dog, Ribsy, but he found him at the end!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Kate Dolan said...

To your list, I would add the Anne of Green Gables books by L.M.Montgomery and The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright.
I suspect this is a topic near and dear to all writers' hearts! I know what my daughter reads now, but I wonder what she will remember most when she's my (ancient) age...

Cecelia said...

Hi, Kate

I'm glad you vistited Writers' Rest and commented. I recall some of my classmates LOVED Anne of Green Gables books, but, alas, I couldn't get into them! Not sure why! I tried to read the first one and I just wasn't intrigued. I do remember they wanted a boy orphan instead of a girl and Anne was worried they would send her back because of her sex.
But Anne's books are a classic with lots of children (and adults), so I'm glad you stopped by and mentioned it!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

David said...

I HAD to read the Dick and Jane books, as well as Singing Wheels, a couple years later. The others listed I didn't read until I was an adult (if I read them at all). What I did read, and loved, were the Hardy Boy books. There are more now than when I was a kid, but I loved them. I still do.

Cecelia said...

David, we're glad you visited Writers' Rest and commented. I couldn't read The Hardy Boys! Not sure why! They were a popular series similiar to the Nancy Drew books but they didn't thrill me the way Nancy's stories, did. I've never heard of Singing Wheels before.
~Cecelia Dowdy~

Jean C. Gordon said...

The Littlest Angel from when I was really young, and I still love it. The Secret Garden when I was older. It's one of the few books I've read more than once. (So many books; so little time.) I also devoured the Little House on the Prairie books and Cherry Ames series.

max said...

Along with six brothers and sisters, I grew up in the late forties, early fifties. My dad wrote several kids adventures during that time and I remember how he’d gather us together in the living room and read a new chapter to see what we thought of it. Two that I remember well were the Winky series and The Austin Boys. These were published by Zondervan when it was a very, very young publishing company.

Books for Boys Blog

Caroline said...

Oh, my. I read & loved almost all the books everyone mentioned, plus . . . (grin)

Remember the Peppers (Five Little Peppers)? Loved those characters. Rebecca of Sunnybank Farm, The Bobbsey Twins, Laddie (loved this book!), and Lassie. There was also a series about a boy named Jasper, I think, who lived in a junkyard w/his aunt & uncle. He & his two friends would solve mysteries. The Black Stallion (probably read it later on w/our boys). Tons of other stories that are a precious memory.

Great topic!

Janet Sketchley said...

Great topic, Cecilia, and it's bringing back good memories. I see titles here I'd forgotten, like the Five Little Peppers. Cherry Ames... those were hard to come by for me, but I had a series about Jean Craig, and I liked Sue Barton (nurse series). I preferred the Hardy Boys to Nancy Drew... it felt like the next step up in suspense.

My favourites, looking back, were LM Montgomery's The Blue Castle (although I liked the Anne books) and Elswyth Thane's Tryst. And the Wrinkle in Time books.

Does anyone remember the Thornton Burgess animal books?

Mary Connealy said...

Cecelia, the first time I read The Black Stallion (I devoured the whole series multiple times) I remember thinking, after I'd read a horse race scene, "How did he do that?"
How did Walter Farley drag me into that horse race. I could smell the dust, feel the huge bodies of the horse pressing together, hear those pounding hooves. I read voraciously as a kid, but that one helped light a spark in me to wonder how to create such an intense, involving experience with words.

Bonnie Doran said...

If you want to go way back, I remember the Pokey Little Puppy. It's still printed!

I agree with the horse lovers about the Black Stallion series. I also enjoyed King of the Wind by Maguerite Henry.

But the book that resonated with me in sixth grade was Space Cadet by Robert Heinlein. Ah, science fiction!

Beth K. Vogt said...

I read Little Women over and over again--and I cried every time Beth died!
I also enjoyed The Bobbsey Twins and Cherry Ames--the nurse series. Anybody else read those? Of course, I had no intention of becoming a nurse! But I enjoyed all her adventures.
My pediatrician introduced me to The Secret Garden. Loved it.

Michelle Sutton said...

I loved The Church Mouse by Graham Oakley when I was really young. The story was great and the illustrations were so cute that I read it a hundred times. I also read all of the Beverly Cleary books and the Little House on the Prairie books when I was in early elementary school. Actually, I read every book in the children's section of the library. :)

Cecelia Dowdy said...

@Jean – Cherry Ames, the nurse! I never read those, although I have heard about them!
Hey, Max! Thanks for visiting and commenting! It’s cool that Zondervan published those series so long ago!
@Caroline – I’ve heard of the Five Little Peppers but have not read that. I’ve also heard of Rebecca of Sunnybank (I think it might be Sunny brooke?) Farm, too. Never read Laddie or Lassie, but, I do recall seeing a Lassie series on TV. There was an old black and white one made (before I was born) and another made with a girl and Lassie. The one with the girl, the TV series, I recall that she was going deaf and it was a big storyline on that series. I’ve heard of the Bobbsey Twins – didn’t they have blond hair? I don’t recall the Jasper series, but I have heard of The Black Stallion.

@Janet - never heard of Jean Craig, but I believe I’ve heard of Sue Barton. As far as LM Montgomery, I’ve only heard of the Anne books. Never heard of Thornton Burgess books.

@ Mary – Wow!! You’ve made me want to go out and read The Black Stallion!
@Bonnie – never read Pokey. Never heard of King of the Wind or Space Cadet. I’m afraid my science fiction reading is limited.
@Beth – I’ve heard of all of those but haven’t had the pleasure of reading them!

Debby Lee said...

Hi Cecelia, my favorites inculde The Little House on the Prarrie series, The Nancy Drew series, and I also read and reread Heidi and Little Women. I guess I was quite the book worm. Thanks for sharing.
Sincerely, Debby Lee

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Hey, Debby Lee! Looks like we shared similiar tastes with our childhood reading material! :-)

Teresa Slack said...

Love reading these posts about childhood faves. I don't remember a lot of them, but some bring back great memories. In grade school our teacher read us a little of Black Beauty every day. Max, I hadn't heard of the ones you mentioned. It's wonderful to know Zondervan was producing books that would endure back then.

Lydia said...

Fun topic! I remember the Five Little Peppers. My sister and I loved Lois Lenski's books like Strawberry Girl. Her illustrations were as wonderful as her stories. Also liked The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, Trixie Belden mysteries and Caddie Woodlawn.

Lyndieb said...

1. A Wrinkle in time.
2. Miracle on Maple Hill
3. RefusM
4. Anything by Robert Heinlein
5. Nancy Drew
6. I also loved to read biographies

Cecelia said...

@Teresa - I've heard of Black Beauty, but I've never read it.

@Lydia - I've heard of some on your list, but not all. I know I've never heard of the Strawberry Girl.

@Lyndie - I read A Wrinkle In Time when I was in the seventh grade. Don't remember much about it though, (Just that Meg, her brother Charles Wallace and some guy named Cal? had to go out into the universe to find Meg's father who was being held in some bubble or some other type of contraption - something like that?) but, I believe it's considered a classic.

JordanEliza said...

I was thinking about classic childhood reads today after I heard news that Kathryn Tucker Windham passed away yesterday. She was the Authour of "13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey" and other similar books. I loved those as a child who grew up in Alabama. Also, I loved the Little House series, the Boxcar Children, Hatchet, and Where the Red Fern Grows. All great books!

Cecelia said...

Hi, Jordan
I've never heard of K.T. Windham before. I'll need to keep her in mind for future reads. Sounds like you and I had similiar reading tastes while growing up!
~Cecelia Dowdy~