When I was a kid, I always had my nose in a book. Sometimes, I even walked and tried to read at the same time. This might account for the number of trips I took to the emergency room as a kid – it’s not a good sign when they know you by name!
So, today, I thought it might be fun to take a stroll down memory lane and share my five top picks from my childhood. All of these books were introduced to me by my Grandma Craig. I could always count on her to give me books for my birthdays and Christmas. Whenever I picked up the square, heavy packages I knew a new adventure was awaiting me. Some of these books may be familiar to you and others, not so much. I can vouch for all of them though because they are old friends.
This is a childhood classic about a pig names Wilbur, a spider named Charlotte and a little girl named Fern. Fern lives on a farm and as most little girls, falls in love with all the baby animals born every spring. When a runty piglet looks like it’s not going to make it, she begs her father to let her raise it. As Wilbur gets bigger, he is moved out to the barn with the other animals. There he finds a friend in Charlotte the spider. When Wilbur discovers the shocking news that he will end his life as bacon for someone’s breakfast, Charlotte is there to help him deal with it. She also hatches up a plan to save his life by spinning messages in her webs above Wilbur’s pen. E.B. White’s award winning book touches on friendship, love, life, death and even growing up. It’s a classic for a reason!
The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White
What can I say? I was a big E.B. White fan when I was kid thanks to my Grandmother. Louis is a trumpeter swan. The only problem is, he can’t trumpet like the rest of his family. In fact, poor Louis is mute – he can’t make a sound. This makes life difficult when he wants to trumpet his love to the beautiful Serena. Without the ability to trumpet, Serena ignores him. That doesn’t stop Louis though. He even goes to school to learn to read and write with the help of a boy names Sam. When that doesn’t work, his father steals him a real brass trumpet. Ultimately, he wins the love (and freedom) of the beautiful Serena.
The Borrowers Series by Mary Norton
Ever wonder what happens to those missing bobby pins, pens and paper clips that seem to disappear into thin air? You might just have borrowers – tiny little people that live in the walls of your house and “borrow” things. There are five books in the series: The Borrowers, The Borrowers Afield, The Borrows Afloat, The Borrowers Aloft and The Borrowers Avenged. The books follow the adventures of Pod, Homily and their teenaged daughter, Arrietty Clock. The stories revolve around the Clocks and the “human beans” of whom Pod and Homily are very afraid, but Arrietty is very curious. Her curiosity precipitate many of the adventures in these books. I spent a lot of time hoping the borrowers might really exist!
Emily of New Moon trilogy by L.M. Montgomery
The Anne of Green Gables are the best known books from L.M. Montgomery, and as much as I liked those, I really loved the Emily of New Moon series. Anne just seemed a little too good to be true to me. Emily, on the other hand, had a little attitude going on! The trilogy includes Emily of New Moon, Emily Climbs and Emily’s Quest. After her widowed father dies, Emily is sent to live with her Aunt Elizabeth and Aunt Laura Murray and her cousin Jimmy of New Moon Farm. The author, L.M. Montgomery admitted that Emily was much closer to her own personality than Anne was, and some of the events in the books really did happen to the author. The three books follow Emily through her school years until she finds both love and success as an author. I absolutely LOVED Emily and her friends Ilse, Perry and Teddy. I really wish they had made a movie from these books too!
The Secret Garden
I probably read this book a dozen times when I was growing up. I absolutely LOVED it! When a cholera epidemic sweeps through an area of India, 10-year-old Mary Lennox is the only survivor. Her parents have left all her upbringing to servants with the result that Mary is extremely spoiled. This results in a very bad temper, anger and rudeness. She is sent to England to live with her uncle, Archibald Craven. At first, Mary is her usual self, sour, disliking the large house, the people within it, and most of all the vast stretch of moor, which seems scrubby and gray after the winter. Her temperament begins to change when she meets Martha Sowerby, her good-natured maidservant, Ben Weatherstaff the gardener and friendly robin. Mary also is intrigued by the stories of the late Mrs. Craven’s garden which was shut up after her untimely death. Mary is also intrigued by the crying she hears during the night which turns out to be Colin, who is a spoiled invalid and her cousin. When the two meet, Colin finds he has met his match in Mary. Together the two find the secret garden, and Colin begins to heal as he experiences the wonders of nature, fresh air and fun. Who doesn’t love a secret and this book had me wishing for my own secret garden!