When I was growing up summertime meant root beer floats on the back porch, running through the sprinkler, pool time and the best of all unlimited time at the library.
I had a hard time learning how to read (thanks dyslexia) but by the third grade, with my mothers tireless help I finally got it. I remember when I was nine, I could not get enough. I read all the time. I used to put a Nancy Drew book inside my Science book and read. Who needed to know about reptiles anyway.
We didn’t have central air conditioning growing up, so I would go down to the basement where it was cool and lay on the tile floor and read for hours at a time. As we head into another summer, I thought I would share my five favorite books from when I was nine.
by John Peterson
I loved these books. They were first published in 1967 but made a resurgence in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s The adventures of The Little’s who had tales and ears like mice, but looked like little people and lived in the walls of the Biggs home kept me entertained for hours. Siblings Tom and Lucy were always trying to help the “big” people, once even doing a kindness for a blind woman. They had to be careful to steer cleat of the Biggs family cat. I loved this family and used to pretend that we had our own family of little people living in our walls.
The Secret Valley
by Clyde Robert Bulla
I know that every little girl has read Little House on the Prairie, but my favorite historical book was “The Secret Valley” by Clyde Robert Bulla. It told the story of the Davis Family and their cat Nugget, as they travel from Missouri, by covered wagon, to the great state of California during the Gold Rush in 1849. They experience many trials on the way but do find a new home they love in this beautiful land. They never do get rich but that didn’t matter to them. They were together and happy. I loved reading this adventure time and time again. So many historical details that just fascinated me. Oh how I wanted to ride in a covered wagon.
by Lois Lenski
I have love Lois Lenski books my whole life. When I first strated learning to read I couldn’t get enought of the “Mr. Small” books. I am so happy to have them for my kids (and maybe one day my grandkids one day). They just make me smile. “Strawberry Girl” made me dream of being a farmer and growing enough food to feed my family. Ten year-old Birdie Boyer loved strawberries but when her family moves and begins to farm a new plot of land, things don’t always go as planned. There are cold snaps, drouths, bugs and incessant heat to deal with. I remember being worried that Birdie wouldn’t get her strawberries. You will have to read it to see if her family was successful.
The Hundred Dresses
by Eleanor Estes
This book hit a little close to home for me, which is probably why I loved it so. Wanda Petronski wears the same faded blue dress to school everyday and she insists that she has one hundred dresses at home. Everyone knows that this is not true and she is teased and bullied because of it. I didn’t have a lot of material things growing up. In a family of ten, money was tight, especially with all eight kids in Catholic grade school. I had one Sunday dress, one pair of Sunday shoes, one pair of tennis shoes, two pairs of jeans and three tops. Then I had my uniform. I used to dream of a closet full of pretty clothes and fancy shoes. What I learned is that none of that makes any difference in life. Love is what matters and that I had in abundance.
Wanda leaves school and the other students realize what they have done. Maddie, one of her classmates, decides that she will ever stand by and let someone be hurt in that way again. It is a powerful tale of bullying before it was a national platform.
How can you resist Wilbur the Pig, Charlotte the Spider and Fern Arable who saves Wilbur from being killed? The relationships between the animals fascinated me and Ferns devotion to them was so wonderful. I cried at the end of this book when Charlotte died. Oh my gosh, I was utterly destroyed. How could she leave Wilbur? Of course, had I paid attention in Science instead of reading Nancy Drew, I might not have been so shocked at the ending, having learned the life cycle of the spider.
I cannot tell you how many time I have read this book myself and out loud to my kids. I wanted a pet pig just like Fern. My parents said no. Now if I had one, my husband would probably butcher it for bacon. LOL!
Enjoy my friends and thanks for walking down memory lane with me.