Monday, October 5, 2015

Books from my Childhood

I've been reading the Harry Potter series to my kids, and it's been awesome. And not just because I can get them to do their chores with the promise of reading another chapter. They've loved it!

But doing so has really brought back memories of my childhood. Curled up on the floor or in my bed, listening to my mom read stories to us. I even remember staying home sick from high school (HIGH SCHOOL !!!), and laying on the couch listening to her read to me. She has been a long-time lover of children's literature, and I directly attribute my obsession with it to her.

-----> This is me way back then, so you can better imagine me sitting on my mom's lap, listening to stories.---->

There weren't nearly as many choices back then, but what there was, she found them. I wanted to mention a few, because not only have all of these amazing books have influenced who I am, but these authors were the pioneers that made what I'm doing even possible.

As a little kid, my mom read picture books to us. A few stand out in my memory as ones we made her and my dad read over and over and over. THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK by Jon Stone was the BEST.

Fear of the unknown was a real thing for me back then. (Okay, it still is.) I remember hating to go downstairs on my own, because WHO KNEW what might come out of that big pot-belled wood-burning stove down there??? And it was dark. And it smelled funny. And the carpet had this crazy brown and orange pattern that could start spinning and might HYPNOTIZE me, and what would I do then???

Point being, I got Grover. I understood! I sympathized with his fears. But I still laughed every time we turned that page, and the story got messier and messier, and the pages got rattier and rattier (both figuratively and literally because we read that book so much). I LOVED being part of the story. It was all so real. Even though of course I knew it wasn't.

And I don't want to ruin the ending for any of you who might not have read it (and if so, watch out for the Goodreads link above . . . they aren't so careful), but this book made me braver. It helped me step up my courage, and you know what? I dared go downstairs on my own (okay, maybe not at night, but baby steps, people). I dared press forward into the unknown. Because lets face it. Life is full of A LOT of unknown. This book was a real part of my childhood. One that influenced me big time. So thank you, Jon Stone for writing it! Thank you, Sesame Street Creators for making such a great character!

And I realize this is all going to take more space than one blog post can handle, so I'll just have to blog about this again. In the mean time, tell me about a book that influenced your childhood. I'd love to hear!


Faith E. Hough said...

I loved The Monster at the End of This Book! I have vivid memories of sitting on my mother's or big sister's lap, biting my fingernails every time. :)
Another favorite was Tomie DePaola's Pancakes for Breakfast. When I was too old to have it "read" to me (it's wordless, thus the quotes), I would read it to my little sisters. It was my first foray into storytelling.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

The Monster at the End of this Book is the first book I had ever seen that broke down the wall between the character, the reader, and the physical book itself. While Grover implores the reader not to turn the pages and tries to prevent us from doing so. It was brilliant in concept and made a permanent impression on me regarding the potential of non-standard story-telling.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Hart - I remember our father reading to us, though I'm sure Mum did too. I certainly read loads. I was totally absorbed into Grimm's Fairy Tales - 437 of them ... cheers Hilary