An Early Role Model

Girl reading jessewilcoxsmithSusan here, looking at early influences in reading – what influenced us, what books and characters captured us, and how did that shape us as readers, as people, as writers, as storytellers? (Writers or not – we are all storytellers of one sort or another!) Some of the books I loved best as a little girl will be familiar: Secret Garden, Pollyanna and Little WomenHeidiThe Silver SkatesThe Velveteen Rabbit, several versions of fairy tales the list goes on, and you would know the books on it–because chances are, these are the stories you read and loved too. (I am revising an early Wench classic post today – editing and updating, as authors are wont to do. Our early posts are handy when time is short — and when there's a topic worth returning to for more discussion!)

I sobbed my eyes out over Heidi, Pollyanna, The Five Little Peppers, and Little Little-womenWomen (though, unlike Joey on "Friends," I didn’t have to hide it in the freezer because Beth was sick and it was upsetting!), and I laughed over others, like Otis Spofford and Ellen Tebbits. I was fascinated and intrigued by A Wrinkle in Time, though some books just did not appeal (Anne of Green Gables never interested me much). Many of these stories I Jesse wilcox smith journeyread again and again, voraciously. It was as if I lived with them, learned from them, grew with them. I loved them like family and had to return to that comfort and that space to soak in more of it.

But of all these books, what characters appealed to me most? Who did I want to be, who helped me develop my thinking, who caught my loyalty and affection and admiration? More than one character for different reasons, of course, but — Pippi!

Pippi Longstocking was my girl.

 

PippiI read Astrid Lindgren’s books (Pippi Longstocking, Pippi Goes on Board, Pippi in the South Seas) until they were in tatters, got new copies and tattered those. I adored Pippi. She fascinated me, and I laughed every time over her silliness and sassiness and her big, bold, goofy heart. I cheered for her. She was brave and independent, funny and unique and very, very kind. And she was more interesting to me than Pollyanna or Anne of Green Gables, and didn’t break my heart like Beth in Little Women.

Running a close second was Ellen in Beverly Cleary’s Ellen Tebbits – but I Ellen tebbits clearydidn’t have to aspire to be Ellen. I was Ellen. Small, clumsy, shy, not exactly confident or particularly lucky. Ellen’s world was similar to mine, down to the ballet lessons and the long underwear slipping down under my clothes (I lived in Upstate New York—we all had long underwear). Things that went wrong for Ellen went wrong for me in similar ways. It could have been me pulling a beet out of someone’s garden in the rain, or wearing itchy long undies, or being teased and overlooked. I so totally identified with Ellen that she felt like my twin, and I read Cleary’s books over and over.

Ah, but Pippi. I couldn’t be her. Nobody could be her. She had spitfire down to an art. I didn’t have a lick of that, being timid and introverted. She could do whatever she wanted, living alone with no parents to complicate things (mother was an angel, father was a sea captain, of course on his way to fetch her). Pippi had a house, a horse, a monkey, resources and independence—and pirate gold too. She was strong and brassy, stood up to nosey, bossy adults, threw robbers out the door and rescued kids from fire, and didn’t have to go to school (I loved school but I appreciated the sentiment!). In many ways I identified more with Tommy and Annika, the kids who lived next door to Pippi. But, Ellen-Tebbitsian as I was, I longed for a little freedom and fire of my own.

…said the teacher, "And now I will tell you that seven and five are twelve."
“See that!" said Pippi. "You knew it yourself. Why are you asking then?"

Pippi 2Red-haired Pippi had the same color hair as my mother, which I loved (Mom’s red-orange hair was beautiful and bright–she was once asked if she dyed it, to which she replied, "No, but if I did, why would I choose this color!"). And I used to imagine slinging a rope from my bedroom window over to the neighbors and zipping over there, as Tommy and Annika did. Astrid Lindgren was brilliant—Pippi was a kid’s delight, all the freedom and gumption any kid could want, while Tommy and Annika were perfect placeholders for the readers.

Pippi was a fantasy, not someone who could appear in my world, but she appealed to me greatly. Even that carroty hair color bonded me to her, since my mom had it too. Pippi opened doors for me in imagination and creativity, opened those channels more in some ways than other books did for me. She taught me early that you have to let go, let it fly to get that creativity up and off the ground. I was a shy little thing, and I needed a little sass-and-wacky.  

There’s a little bit of Pippi in me still, and a little in some of the feistier among the heroines I’ve written. I owe some of that to Pippi. After all, she did teach me some very useful stuff:

"Can you dance the Schottische?" asked Pippi, looking him gravely in the eye. "I can."

And of course I had to run to the library to discover what a "Schottische" was, which led me to European and then Highland dance, and that led me to a curiosity about the Scottish Highlands and Inverness, where my Fraser great-grandparents had lived. And while I can't lay my Scottish historical fiction career at Pippi's feet, she did give me an early little nudge. 

What were your favorite books as a kid, the stories that affected you the most? Who was your favorite character–who did you identify with, or wish you could be, who made a difference in your life?

105 thoughts on “An Early Role Model”

  1. Susan, you’re making me sorry I didn’t read any Pippi Longstocking as a kid! When I think about it, a lot of my childhood faves were boys’ books because boys got to do more adventure. Tom Corbett, Space Cadet! Swiss Family Robinson. (Ride that ostrich!) Any of a mass of Robert Heinlein novels, though he also had some pretty good girl characters, too. I also liked girl detectives like Trixie Belden. But there was no one character I loved as you loved Pippi!

    Reply
  2. Susan, you’re making me sorry I didn’t read any Pippi Longstocking as a kid! When I think about it, a lot of my childhood faves were boys’ books because boys got to do more adventure. Tom Corbett, Space Cadet! Swiss Family Robinson. (Ride that ostrich!) Any of a mass of Robert Heinlein novels, though he also had some pretty good girl characters, too. I also liked girl detectives like Trixie Belden. But there was no one character I loved as you loved Pippi!

    Reply
  3. Susan, you’re making me sorry I didn’t read any Pippi Longstocking as a kid! When I think about it, a lot of my childhood faves were boys’ books because boys got to do more adventure. Tom Corbett, Space Cadet! Swiss Family Robinson. (Ride that ostrich!) Any of a mass of Robert Heinlein novels, though he also had some pretty good girl characters, too. I also liked girl detectives like Trixie Belden. But there was no one character I loved as you loved Pippi!

    Reply
  4. Susan, you’re making me sorry I didn’t read any Pippi Longstocking as a kid! When I think about it, a lot of my childhood faves were boys’ books because boys got to do more adventure. Tom Corbett, Space Cadet! Swiss Family Robinson. (Ride that ostrich!) Any of a mass of Robert Heinlein novels, though he also had some pretty good girl characters, too. I also liked girl detectives like Trixie Belden. But there was no one character I loved as you loved Pippi!

    Reply
  5. Susan, you’re making me sorry I didn’t read any Pippi Longstocking as a kid! When I think about it, a lot of my childhood faves were boys’ books because boys got to do more adventure. Tom Corbett, Space Cadet! Swiss Family Robinson. (Ride that ostrich!) Any of a mass of Robert Heinlein novels, though he also had some pretty good girl characters, too. I also liked girl detectives like Trixie Belden. But there was no one character I loved as you loved Pippi!

    Reply
  6. Oh Swiss Family Robinson, another good one! And Trixie Belden! I never read Tom Corbett, and came later to the Heinlein books. But oh I unabashedly loved Pippi. I tried them again a few years ago (every now and then I must check in with the old faves), and yes, they were a bit silly … but still funny and charming, and so endearing.

    Reply
  7. Oh Swiss Family Robinson, another good one! And Trixie Belden! I never read Tom Corbett, and came later to the Heinlein books. But oh I unabashedly loved Pippi. I tried them again a few years ago (every now and then I must check in with the old faves), and yes, they were a bit silly … but still funny and charming, and so endearing.

    Reply
  8. Oh Swiss Family Robinson, another good one! And Trixie Belden! I never read Tom Corbett, and came later to the Heinlein books. But oh I unabashedly loved Pippi. I tried them again a few years ago (every now and then I must check in with the old faves), and yes, they were a bit silly … but still funny and charming, and so endearing.

    Reply
  9. Oh Swiss Family Robinson, another good one! And Trixie Belden! I never read Tom Corbett, and came later to the Heinlein books. But oh I unabashedly loved Pippi. I tried them again a few years ago (every now and then I must check in with the old faves), and yes, they were a bit silly … but still funny and charming, and so endearing.

    Reply
  10. Oh Swiss Family Robinson, another good one! And Trixie Belden! I never read Tom Corbett, and came later to the Heinlein books. But oh I unabashedly loved Pippi. I tried them again a few years ago (every now and then I must check in with the old faves), and yes, they were a bit silly … but still funny and charming, and so endearing.

    Reply
  11. Pippi and Tom Corbett weren’t yet written in my childhood; Heinlein was writing in the Saturday Evening post (and the SF magazines I had no access to) in my high school years.
    But I did read The Joseph Altsheler books (boys books) and the Swiss Family Robinson. And I had Becky Landers, Frontier Warrior by Constance Skinner. I took the March girls, the Wilder girls (just being published as I was growing up), and Caddie Woodlawn as my role models.
    It may interest some of you to hear that my younger daughter (youngest child) chose Galadriel as her role model when my daughter was about 8 years old.

    Reply
  12. Pippi and Tom Corbett weren’t yet written in my childhood; Heinlein was writing in the Saturday Evening post (and the SF magazines I had no access to) in my high school years.
    But I did read The Joseph Altsheler books (boys books) and the Swiss Family Robinson. And I had Becky Landers, Frontier Warrior by Constance Skinner. I took the March girls, the Wilder girls (just being published as I was growing up), and Caddie Woodlawn as my role models.
    It may interest some of you to hear that my younger daughter (youngest child) chose Galadriel as her role model when my daughter was about 8 years old.

    Reply
  13. Pippi and Tom Corbett weren’t yet written in my childhood; Heinlein was writing in the Saturday Evening post (and the SF magazines I had no access to) in my high school years.
    But I did read The Joseph Altsheler books (boys books) and the Swiss Family Robinson. And I had Becky Landers, Frontier Warrior by Constance Skinner. I took the March girls, the Wilder girls (just being published as I was growing up), and Caddie Woodlawn as my role models.
    It may interest some of you to hear that my younger daughter (youngest child) chose Galadriel as her role model when my daughter was about 8 years old.

    Reply
  14. Pippi and Tom Corbett weren’t yet written in my childhood; Heinlein was writing in the Saturday Evening post (and the SF magazines I had no access to) in my high school years.
    But I did read The Joseph Altsheler books (boys books) and the Swiss Family Robinson. And I had Becky Landers, Frontier Warrior by Constance Skinner. I took the March girls, the Wilder girls (just being published as I was growing up), and Caddie Woodlawn as my role models.
    It may interest some of you to hear that my younger daughter (youngest child) chose Galadriel as her role model when my daughter was about 8 years old.

    Reply
  15. Pippi and Tom Corbett weren’t yet written in my childhood; Heinlein was writing in the Saturday Evening post (and the SF magazines I had no access to) in my high school years.
    But I did read The Joseph Altsheler books (boys books) and the Swiss Family Robinson. And I had Becky Landers, Frontier Warrior by Constance Skinner. I took the March girls, the Wilder girls (just being published as I was growing up), and Caddie Woodlawn as my role models.
    It may interest some of you to hear that my younger daughter (youngest child) chose Galadriel as her role model when my daughter was about 8 years old.

    Reply
  16. I forgot to mention that Kim (Kipling) also became a role model by the time I was 12. (Although I am truly too much of an introvert to have had Kim’s type of adventures.

    Reply
  17. I forgot to mention that Kim (Kipling) also became a role model by the time I was 12. (Although I am truly too much of an introvert to have had Kim’s type of adventures.

    Reply
  18. I forgot to mention that Kim (Kipling) also became a role model by the time I was 12. (Although I am truly too much of an introvert to have had Kim’s type of adventures.

    Reply
  19. I forgot to mention that Kim (Kipling) also became a role model by the time I was 12. (Although I am truly too much of an introvert to have had Kim’s type of adventures.

    Reply
  20. I forgot to mention that Kim (Kipling) also became a role model by the time I was 12. (Although I am truly too much of an introvert to have had Kim’s type of adventures.

    Reply
  21. I couldn’t do Cleary books or the Pippi books. I was a Little Women, Jane Austen, all of LM Montgomery’s books (Anne of Green Gables, Emily of New Moon and some others), Nancy Drew reader from pretty young. My mother would get me some of the Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume books and I would just take them to school and leave them. LOL I enjoyed Bridge to Terabithia (not sure about spelling) and a whole series of Christian based girls that traveled and were heroes of different time periods books that my mom got me. By mid teens I was onto Grace Livingston Hill and Emilie Loring and Georgette Heyer. There were others but those are the ones that made an impression on me. I was (and still am) a very hard core introvert that dislikes being amongst people much, longed to go places and wished I had a supportive family so I found those things I was looking for in books. Many of them I still have and read occasionally.

    Reply
  22. I couldn’t do Cleary books or the Pippi books. I was a Little Women, Jane Austen, all of LM Montgomery’s books (Anne of Green Gables, Emily of New Moon and some others), Nancy Drew reader from pretty young. My mother would get me some of the Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume books and I would just take them to school and leave them. LOL I enjoyed Bridge to Terabithia (not sure about spelling) and a whole series of Christian based girls that traveled and were heroes of different time periods books that my mom got me. By mid teens I was onto Grace Livingston Hill and Emilie Loring and Georgette Heyer. There were others but those are the ones that made an impression on me. I was (and still am) a very hard core introvert that dislikes being amongst people much, longed to go places and wished I had a supportive family so I found those things I was looking for in books. Many of them I still have and read occasionally.

    Reply
  23. I couldn’t do Cleary books or the Pippi books. I was a Little Women, Jane Austen, all of LM Montgomery’s books (Anne of Green Gables, Emily of New Moon and some others), Nancy Drew reader from pretty young. My mother would get me some of the Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume books and I would just take them to school and leave them. LOL I enjoyed Bridge to Terabithia (not sure about spelling) and a whole series of Christian based girls that traveled and were heroes of different time periods books that my mom got me. By mid teens I was onto Grace Livingston Hill and Emilie Loring and Georgette Heyer. There were others but those are the ones that made an impression on me. I was (and still am) a very hard core introvert that dislikes being amongst people much, longed to go places and wished I had a supportive family so I found those things I was looking for in books. Many of them I still have and read occasionally.

    Reply
  24. I couldn’t do Cleary books or the Pippi books. I was a Little Women, Jane Austen, all of LM Montgomery’s books (Anne of Green Gables, Emily of New Moon and some others), Nancy Drew reader from pretty young. My mother would get me some of the Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume books and I would just take them to school and leave them. LOL I enjoyed Bridge to Terabithia (not sure about spelling) and a whole series of Christian based girls that traveled and were heroes of different time periods books that my mom got me. By mid teens I was onto Grace Livingston Hill and Emilie Loring and Georgette Heyer. There were others but those are the ones that made an impression on me. I was (and still am) a very hard core introvert that dislikes being amongst people much, longed to go places and wished I had a supportive family so I found those things I was looking for in books. Many of them I still have and read occasionally.

    Reply
  25. I couldn’t do Cleary books or the Pippi books. I was a Little Women, Jane Austen, all of LM Montgomery’s books (Anne of Green Gables, Emily of New Moon and some others), Nancy Drew reader from pretty young. My mother would get me some of the Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume books and I would just take them to school and leave them. LOL I enjoyed Bridge to Terabithia (not sure about spelling) and a whole series of Christian based girls that traveled and were heroes of different time periods books that my mom got me. By mid teens I was onto Grace Livingston Hill and Emilie Loring and Georgette Heyer. There were others but those are the ones that made an impression on me. I was (and still am) a very hard core introvert that dislikes being amongst people much, longed to go places and wished I had a supportive family so I found those things I was looking for in books. Many of them I still have and read occasionally.

    Reply
  26. I loved Anne of Green Gables, Little Women (all three of the books about the March family), the Little Princess and Secret Garden, but for a book friend that I could relate to timewise, Ramona was my girl. I loved how nothing ever seemed to go right for her. Beverly Cleary was a genius at writing children’s feelings. I also adored anything by Canadian author Jean Little. Her characters were always had to overcome the odds. She wrote(writes… I think she’s still writing) about kids who for one reason or another were misfits and they always found where they belonged. I found them highly relatable. My favourite was “From Anna”, a young German girl whose family emigrated to Canada in 1932. even as an adult, I revisit that book (which I got for Christmas in fourth grade -1984!) and share it with my third grade students as a read aloud most years. The nice thing about teaching elementary school is the opportunity to introduce a new generation of kids to the “book friends” of my own youth. I never had to leave them behind!

    Reply
  27. I loved Anne of Green Gables, Little Women (all three of the books about the March family), the Little Princess and Secret Garden, but for a book friend that I could relate to timewise, Ramona was my girl. I loved how nothing ever seemed to go right for her. Beverly Cleary was a genius at writing children’s feelings. I also adored anything by Canadian author Jean Little. Her characters were always had to overcome the odds. She wrote(writes… I think she’s still writing) about kids who for one reason or another were misfits and they always found where they belonged. I found them highly relatable. My favourite was “From Anna”, a young German girl whose family emigrated to Canada in 1932. even as an adult, I revisit that book (which I got for Christmas in fourth grade -1984!) and share it with my third grade students as a read aloud most years. The nice thing about teaching elementary school is the opportunity to introduce a new generation of kids to the “book friends” of my own youth. I never had to leave them behind!

    Reply
  28. I loved Anne of Green Gables, Little Women (all three of the books about the March family), the Little Princess and Secret Garden, but for a book friend that I could relate to timewise, Ramona was my girl. I loved how nothing ever seemed to go right for her. Beverly Cleary was a genius at writing children’s feelings. I also adored anything by Canadian author Jean Little. Her characters were always had to overcome the odds. She wrote(writes… I think she’s still writing) about kids who for one reason or another were misfits and they always found where they belonged. I found them highly relatable. My favourite was “From Anna”, a young German girl whose family emigrated to Canada in 1932. even as an adult, I revisit that book (which I got for Christmas in fourth grade -1984!) and share it with my third grade students as a read aloud most years. The nice thing about teaching elementary school is the opportunity to introduce a new generation of kids to the “book friends” of my own youth. I never had to leave them behind!

    Reply
  29. I loved Anne of Green Gables, Little Women (all three of the books about the March family), the Little Princess and Secret Garden, but for a book friend that I could relate to timewise, Ramona was my girl. I loved how nothing ever seemed to go right for her. Beverly Cleary was a genius at writing children’s feelings. I also adored anything by Canadian author Jean Little. Her characters were always had to overcome the odds. She wrote(writes… I think she’s still writing) about kids who for one reason or another were misfits and they always found where they belonged. I found them highly relatable. My favourite was “From Anna”, a young German girl whose family emigrated to Canada in 1932. even as an adult, I revisit that book (which I got for Christmas in fourth grade -1984!) and share it with my third grade students as a read aloud most years. The nice thing about teaching elementary school is the opportunity to introduce a new generation of kids to the “book friends” of my own youth. I never had to leave them behind!

    Reply
  30. I loved Anne of Green Gables, Little Women (all three of the books about the March family), the Little Princess and Secret Garden, but for a book friend that I could relate to timewise, Ramona was my girl. I loved how nothing ever seemed to go right for her. Beverly Cleary was a genius at writing children’s feelings. I also adored anything by Canadian author Jean Little. Her characters were always had to overcome the odds. She wrote(writes… I think she’s still writing) about kids who for one reason or another were misfits and they always found where they belonged. I found them highly relatable. My favourite was “From Anna”, a young German girl whose family emigrated to Canada in 1932. even as an adult, I revisit that book (which I got for Christmas in fourth grade -1984!) and share it with my third grade students as a read aloud most years. The nice thing about teaching elementary school is the opportunity to introduce a new generation of kids to the “book friends” of my own youth. I never had to leave them behind!

    Reply
  31. Of all the classics that I read, Little Women was my favorite. I don’t believe I ever read the Pippi books. Even as a child though, I was drawn to biographies and mysteries – Nancy Drew was a favorite. I remember reading a biography of Susan B. Anthony when I was in grade school. Wish I could remember the title and the author, because I can still remember some of the illustrations from the book.
    A book that touched me deeply as a child was Blue Willow by Doris Gates. I had to google the book to find the author’s name because I couldn’t remember it. It was a touching story of a little girl who’s family had lost their farm during the dust bowl years of the great depression. They had become itinerant workers, moving from crop to crop. She longed to have a permanent home again.
    During the school year I would get my books from the school library, but in the summer, my friend and I would walk to the public library, which was about 10 or 12 blocks from my home. Best part was, if we still had any allowance left, we would stop that convenience store and get an ice cold Coke. Good times.

    Reply
  32. Of all the classics that I read, Little Women was my favorite. I don’t believe I ever read the Pippi books. Even as a child though, I was drawn to biographies and mysteries – Nancy Drew was a favorite. I remember reading a biography of Susan B. Anthony when I was in grade school. Wish I could remember the title and the author, because I can still remember some of the illustrations from the book.
    A book that touched me deeply as a child was Blue Willow by Doris Gates. I had to google the book to find the author’s name because I couldn’t remember it. It was a touching story of a little girl who’s family had lost their farm during the dust bowl years of the great depression. They had become itinerant workers, moving from crop to crop. She longed to have a permanent home again.
    During the school year I would get my books from the school library, but in the summer, my friend and I would walk to the public library, which was about 10 or 12 blocks from my home. Best part was, if we still had any allowance left, we would stop that convenience store and get an ice cold Coke. Good times.

    Reply
  33. Of all the classics that I read, Little Women was my favorite. I don’t believe I ever read the Pippi books. Even as a child though, I was drawn to biographies and mysteries – Nancy Drew was a favorite. I remember reading a biography of Susan B. Anthony when I was in grade school. Wish I could remember the title and the author, because I can still remember some of the illustrations from the book.
    A book that touched me deeply as a child was Blue Willow by Doris Gates. I had to google the book to find the author’s name because I couldn’t remember it. It was a touching story of a little girl who’s family had lost their farm during the dust bowl years of the great depression. They had become itinerant workers, moving from crop to crop. She longed to have a permanent home again.
    During the school year I would get my books from the school library, but in the summer, my friend and I would walk to the public library, which was about 10 or 12 blocks from my home. Best part was, if we still had any allowance left, we would stop that convenience store and get an ice cold Coke. Good times.

    Reply
  34. Of all the classics that I read, Little Women was my favorite. I don’t believe I ever read the Pippi books. Even as a child though, I was drawn to biographies and mysteries – Nancy Drew was a favorite. I remember reading a biography of Susan B. Anthony when I was in grade school. Wish I could remember the title and the author, because I can still remember some of the illustrations from the book.
    A book that touched me deeply as a child was Blue Willow by Doris Gates. I had to google the book to find the author’s name because I couldn’t remember it. It was a touching story of a little girl who’s family had lost their farm during the dust bowl years of the great depression. They had become itinerant workers, moving from crop to crop. She longed to have a permanent home again.
    During the school year I would get my books from the school library, but in the summer, my friend and I would walk to the public library, which was about 10 or 12 blocks from my home. Best part was, if we still had any allowance left, we would stop that convenience store and get an ice cold Coke. Good times.

    Reply
  35. Of all the classics that I read, Little Women was my favorite. I don’t believe I ever read the Pippi books. Even as a child though, I was drawn to biographies and mysteries – Nancy Drew was a favorite. I remember reading a biography of Susan B. Anthony when I was in grade school. Wish I could remember the title and the author, because I can still remember some of the illustrations from the book.
    A book that touched me deeply as a child was Blue Willow by Doris Gates. I had to google the book to find the author’s name because I couldn’t remember it. It was a touching story of a little girl who’s family had lost their farm during the dust bowl years of the great depression. They had become itinerant workers, moving from crop to crop. She longed to have a permanent home again.
    During the school year I would get my books from the school library, but in the summer, my friend and I would walk to the public library, which was about 10 or 12 blocks from my home. Best part was, if we still had any allowance left, we would stop that convenience store and get an ice cold Coke. Good times.

    Reply
  36. Heinlein, AC Clarke – all the sci-fi, Little Women. But I think the one that influenced me the most was a book whose name/author I can’t remember, but it was about a girl who wanted to all the things the boys did – shoot bows, paddle canoes, did all sort of athletic, woodsy things.tried to hide her identity, but everyone knew who she was. She was my hero. I even tried to fool my extended family, but they knew!

    Reply
  37. Heinlein, AC Clarke – all the sci-fi, Little Women. But I think the one that influenced me the most was a book whose name/author I can’t remember, but it was about a girl who wanted to all the things the boys did – shoot bows, paddle canoes, did all sort of athletic, woodsy things.tried to hide her identity, but everyone knew who she was. She was my hero. I even tried to fool my extended family, but they knew!

    Reply
  38. Heinlein, AC Clarke – all the sci-fi, Little Women. But I think the one that influenced me the most was a book whose name/author I can’t remember, but it was about a girl who wanted to all the things the boys did – shoot bows, paddle canoes, did all sort of athletic, woodsy things.tried to hide her identity, but everyone knew who she was. She was my hero. I even tried to fool my extended family, but they knew!

    Reply
  39. Heinlein, AC Clarke – all the sci-fi, Little Women. But I think the one that influenced me the most was a book whose name/author I can’t remember, but it was about a girl who wanted to all the things the boys did – shoot bows, paddle canoes, did all sort of athletic, woodsy things.tried to hide her identity, but everyone knew who she was. She was my hero. I even tried to fool my extended family, but they knew!

    Reply
  40. Heinlein, AC Clarke – all the sci-fi, Little Women. But I think the one that influenced me the most was a book whose name/author I can’t remember, but it was about a girl who wanted to all the things the boys did – shoot bows, paddle canoes, did all sort of athletic, woodsy things.tried to hide her identity, but everyone knew who she was. She was my hero. I even tried to fool my extended family, but they knew!

    Reply
  41. Isn’t it great to return to the books we loved as kids? I still do. Pippi wasn’t my only favorite, there were plenty more, many of which have been named here. But I loved that quirky boldness, being a little introvert – and now rather happy in that shell. Works for me. 😉

    Reply
  42. Isn’t it great to return to the books we loved as kids? I still do. Pippi wasn’t my only favorite, there were plenty more, many of which have been named here. But I loved that quirky boldness, being a little introvert – and now rather happy in that shell. Works for me. 😉

    Reply
  43. Isn’t it great to return to the books we loved as kids? I still do. Pippi wasn’t my only favorite, there were plenty more, many of which have been named here. But I loved that quirky boldness, being a little introvert – and now rather happy in that shell. Works for me. 😉

    Reply
  44. Isn’t it great to return to the books we loved as kids? I still do. Pippi wasn’t my only favorite, there were plenty more, many of which have been named here. But I loved that quirky boldness, being a little introvert – and now rather happy in that shell. Works for me. 😉

    Reply
  45. Isn’t it great to return to the books we loved as kids? I still do. Pippi wasn’t my only favorite, there were plenty more, many of which have been named here. But I loved that quirky boldness, being a little introvert – and now rather happy in that shell. Works for me. 😉

    Reply
  46. I loved the Ramona books too, and I agree about Cleary, she wrote such relatable stories for kids. I love that you’ve never had to move on from these books – what a great way to look at it, and it’s wonderful that you can continue to enjoy them, Jana!

    Reply
  47. I loved the Ramona books too, and I agree about Cleary, she wrote such relatable stories for kids. I love that you’ve never had to move on from these books – what a great way to look at it, and it’s wonderful that you can continue to enjoy them, Jana!

    Reply
  48. I loved the Ramona books too, and I agree about Cleary, she wrote such relatable stories for kids. I love that you’ve never had to move on from these books – what a great way to look at it, and it’s wonderful that you can continue to enjoy them, Jana!

    Reply
  49. I loved the Ramona books too, and I agree about Cleary, she wrote such relatable stories for kids. I love that you’ve never had to move on from these books – what a great way to look at it, and it’s wonderful that you can continue to enjoy them, Jana!

    Reply
  50. I loved the Ramona books too, and I agree about Cleary, she wrote such relatable stories for kids. I love that you’ve never had to move on from these books – what a great way to look at it, and it’s wonderful that you can continue to enjoy them, Jana!

    Reply
  51. Mary, thanks for reminding us about the biographies! I loved those too. I think Elizabeth Blackwell, first woman doctor, was my favorite – there’s even a photo of me reading it. We lived in a small town where walking to the public library was a fun thing to do, and we felt safe. And stopping at the store for an ice cold Coke on a hot day – what a great memory!

    Reply
  52. Mary, thanks for reminding us about the biographies! I loved those too. I think Elizabeth Blackwell, first woman doctor, was my favorite – there’s even a photo of me reading it. We lived in a small town where walking to the public library was a fun thing to do, and we felt safe. And stopping at the store for an ice cold Coke on a hot day – what a great memory!

    Reply
  53. Mary, thanks for reminding us about the biographies! I loved those too. I think Elizabeth Blackwell, first woman doctor, was my favorite – there’s even a photo of me reading it. We lived in a small town where walking to the public library was a fun thing to do, and we felt safe. And stopping at the store for an ice cold Coke on a hot day – what a great memory!

    Reply
  54. Mary, thanks for reminding us about the biographies! I loved those too. I think Elizabeth Blackwell, first woman doctor, was my favorite – there’s even a photo of me reading it. We lived in a small town where walking to the public library was a fun thing to do, and we felt safe. And stopping at the store for an ice cold Coke on a hot day – what a great memory!

    Reply
  55. Mary, thanks for reminding us about the biographies! I loved those too. I think Elizabeth Blackwell, first woman doctor, was my favorite – there’s even a photo of me reading it. We lived in a small town where walking to the public library was a fun thing to do, and we felt safe. And stopping at the store for an ice cold Coke on a hot day – what a great memory!

    Reply
  56. Sounds like such a fun story! If you think of the title, let us know. I didn’t read much sci fi until I got to high school and college, so I hit that pretty hard in those years – I had a lot of catching up to do.

    Reply
  57. Sounds like such a fun story! If you think of the title, let us know. I didn’t read much sci fi until I got to high school and college, so I hit that pretty hard in those years – I had a lot of catching up to do.

    Reply
  58. Sounds like such a fun story! If you think of the title, let us know. I didn’t read much sci fi until I got to high school and college, so I hit that pretty hard in those years – I had a lot of catching up to do.

    Reply
  59. Sounds like such a fun story! If you think of the title, let us know. I didn’t read much sci fi until I got to high school and college, so I hit that pretty hard in those years – I had a lot of catching up to do.

    Reply
  60. Sounds like such a fun story! If you think of the title, let us know. I didn’t read much sci fi until I got to high school and college, so I hit that pretty hard in those years – I had a lot of catching up to do.

    Reply
  61. First was Dorothy Gale of the Oz books; then Robert A. Heinlein’s juvenile sf series characters; then Mara in Mara, Daughter of the Nile. After that, Andre Norton’s heroines; Harriet Vane; Jane Eyre; then the Austen girls. Now, Jessica Jones 😉

    Reply
  62. First was Dorothy Gale of the Oz books; then Robert A. Heinlein’s juvenile sf series characters; then Mara in Mara, Daughter of the Nile. After that, Andre Norton’s heroines; Harriet Vane; Jane Eyre; then the Austen girls. Now, Jessica Jones 😉

    Reply
  63. First was Dorothy Gale of the Oz books; then Robert A. Heinlein’s juvenile sf series characters; then Mara in Mara, Daughter of the Nile. After that, Andre Norton’s heroines; Harriet Vane; Jane Eyre; then the Austen girls. Now, Jessica Jones 😉

    Reply
  64. First was Dorothy Gale of the Oz books; then Robert A. Heinlein’s juvenile sf series characters; then Mara in Mara, Daughter of the Nile. After that, Andre Norton’s heroines; Harriet Vane; Jane Eyre; then the Austen girls. Now, Jessica Jones 😉

    Reply
  65. First was Dorothy Gale of the Oz books; then Robert A. Heinlein’s juvenile sf series characters; then Mara in Mara, Daughter of the Nile. After that, Andre Norton’s heroines; Harriet Vane; Jane Eyre; then the Austen girls. Now, Jessica Jones 😉

    Reply
  66. I can’t remember not being able to read. I grew up in a world of books. My Grandfather had a barrister bookcase with an assortment of books from when his children were young. I felt very special because he would allow me to open one of the glass “doors” and select a book to read when I was visiting him. He had a series of Honey Bunch books which I devoured. I also read The Bobbsey Twins (Nan was my favorite) and Nancy Drew (of course). I even read the Hardy Boys.

    Reply
  67. I can’t remember not being able to read. I grew up in a world of books. My Grandfather had a barrister bookcase with an assortment of books from when his children were young. I felt very special because he would allow me to open one of the glass “doors” and select a book to read when I was visiting him. He had a series of Honey Bunch books which I devoured. I also read The Bobbsey Twins (Nan was my favorite) and Nancy Drew (of course). I even read the Hardy Boys.

    Reply
  68. I can’t remember not being able to read. I grew up in a world of books. My Grandfather had a barrister bookcase with an assortment of books from when his children were young. I felt very special because he would allow me to open one of the glass “doors” and select a book to read when I was visiting him. He had a series of Honey Bunch books which I devoured. I also read The Bobbsey Twins (Nan was my favorite) and Nancy Drew (of course). I even read the Hardy Boys.

    Reply
  69. I can’t remember not being able to read. I grew up in a world of books. My Grandfather had a barrister bookcase with an assortment of books from when his children were young. I felt very special because he would allow me to open one of the glass “doors” and select a book to read when I was visiting him. He had a series of Honey Bunch books which I devoured. I also read The Bobbsey Twins (Nan was my favorite) and Nancy Drew (of course). I even read the Hardy Boys.

    Reply
  70. I can’t remember not being able to read. I grew up in a world of books. My Grandfather had a barrister bookcase with an assortment of books from when his children were young. I felt very special because he would allow me to open one of the glass “doors” and select a book to read when I was visiting him. He had a series of Honey Bunch books which I devoured. I also read The Bobbsey Twins (Nan was my favorite) and Nancy Drew (of course). I even read the Hardy Boys.

    Reply
  71. I grew up on Enid Blyton books. I lived out in the country. There was no library and we had very little money. A friend passed on her books to me. I lived in those stories. The Famous Five, The Findouters and The Magic Faraway Tree. But one of my favorite ones was Mallory Towers. How I wanted to go to boarding school. I wanted to BE Darrell Rivers!!
    You’ve taken me right back to my childhood with this post! What a lovely place to be.
    I never read Pippi Longstocking but I watched it on tv. It was great and I thought she was a real heroine.

    Reply
  72. I grew up on Enid Blyton books. I lived out in the country. There was no library and we had very little money. A friend passed on her books to me. I lived in those stories. The Famous Five, The Findouters and The Magic Faraway Tree. But one of my favorite ones was Mallory Towers. How I wanted to go to boarding school. I wanted to BE Darrell Rivers!!
    You’ve taken me right back to my childhood with this post! What a lovely place to be.
    I never read Pippi Longstocking but I watched it on tv. It was great and I thought she was a real heroine.

    Reply
  73. I grew up on Enid Blyton books. I lived out in the country. There was no library and we had very little money. A friend passed on her books to me. I lived in those stories. The Famous Five, The Findouters and The Magic Faraway Tree. But one of my favorite ones was Mallory Towers. How I wanted to go to boarding school. I wanted to BE Darrell Rivers!!
    You’ve taken me right back to my childhood with this post! What a lovely place to be.
    I never read Pippi Longstocking but I watched it on tv. It was great and I thought she was a real heroine.

    Reply
  74. I grew up on Enid Blyton books. I lived out in the country. There was no library and we had very little money. A friend passed on her books to me. I lived in those stories. The Famous Five, The Findouters and The Magic Faraway Tree. But one of my favorite ones was Mallory Towers. How I wanted to go to boarding school. I wanted to BE Darrell Rivers!!
    You’ve taken me right back to my childhood with this post! What a lovely place to be.
    I never read Pippi Longstocking but I watched it on tv. It was great and I thought she was a real heroine.

    Reply
  75. I grew up on Enid Blyton books. I lived out in the country. There was no library and we had very little money. A friend passed on her books to me. I lived in those stories. The Famous Five, The Findouters and The Magic Faraway Tree. But one of my favorite ones was Mallory Towers. How I wanted to go to boarding school. I wanted to BE Darrell Rivers!!
    You’ve taken me right back to my childhood with this post! What a lovely place to be.
    I never read Pippi Longstocking but I watched it on tv. It was great and I thought she was a real heroine.

    Reply
  76. In children’s books, I enjoyed Betsy Tacey and Tib books by Maude Hart Lovelace. I loved Lois Lenski books. And I read Nancy Drew, Louisa May Alcott, The Five Little Peppers and other classics.
    But, to be honest, I had a deep dark secret. I was a very good reader, and my father was a member of the Book of the Month Club. He got a lot of WWII books. So, I read Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, They Were Expendable and similar books which were totally inappropriate for a child under the age of 9. In my family, no one cared what I read. Those books led to my love of history, John Wayne war movies and lots of other things. I still read books which are not appropriate for children under the age of 9.

    Reply
  77. In children’s books, I enjoyed Betsy Tacey and Tib books by Maude Hart Lovelace. I loved Lois Lenski books. And I read Nancy Drew, Louisa May Alcott, The Five Little Peppers and other classics.
    But, to be honest, I had a deep dark secret. I was a very good reader, and my father was a member of the Book of the Month Club. He got a lot of WWII books. So, I read Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, They Were Expendable and similar books which were totally inappropriate for a child under the age of 9. In my family, no one cared what I read. Those books led to my love of history, John Wayne war movies and lots of other things. I still read books which are not appropriate for children under the age of 9.

    Reply
  78. In children’s books, I enjoyed Betsy Tacey and Tib books by Maude Hart Lovelace. I loved Lois Lenski books. And I read Nancy Drew, Louisa May Alcott, The Five Little Peppers and other classics.
    But, to be honest, I had a deep dark secret. I was a very good reader, and my father was a member of the Book of the Month Club. He got a lot of WWII books. So, I read Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, They Were Expendable and similar books which were totally inappropriate for a child under the age of 9. In my family, no one cared what I read. Those books led to my love of history, John Wayne war movies and lots of other things. I still read books which are not appropriate for children under the age of 9.

    Reply
  79. In children’s books, I enjoyed Betsy Tacey and Tib books by Maude Hart Lovelace. I loved Lois Lenski books. And I read Nancy Drew, Louisa May Alcott, The Five Little Peppers and other classics.
    But, to be honest, I had a deep dark secret. I was a very good reader, and my father was a member of the Book of the Month Club. He got a lot of WWII books. So, I read Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, They Were Expendable and similar books which were totally inappropriate for a child under the age of 9. In my family, no one cared what I read. Those books led to my love of history, John Wayne war movies and lots of other things. I still read books which are not appropriate for children under the age of 9.

    Reply
  80. In children’s books, I enjoyed Betsy Tacey and Tib books by Maude Hart Lovelace. I loved Lois Lenski books. And I read Nancy Drew, Louisa May Alcott, The Five Little Peppers and other classics.
    But, to be honest, I had a deep dark secret. I was a very good reader, and my father was a member of the Book of the Month Club. He got a lot of WWII books. So, I read Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, They Were Expendable and similar books which were totally inappropriate for a child under the age of 9. In my family, no one cared what I read. Those books led to my love of history, John Wayne war movies and lots of other things. I still read books which are not appropriate for children under the age of 9.

    Reply
  81. Did anyone here have ValueTales? The biographies of historical figures linked with character values? I wish I still had them!

    Reply
  82. Did anyone here have ValueTales? The biographies of historical figures linked with character values? I wish I still had them!

    Reply
  83. Did anyone here have ValueTales? The biographies of historical figures linked with character values? I wish I still had them!

    Reply
  84. Did anyone here have ValueTales? The biographies of historical figures linked with character values? I wish I still had them!

    Reply
  85. Did anyone here have ValueTales? The biographies of historical figures linked with character values? I wish I still had them!

    Reply
  86. Since I was a horse-mad child, Black Beauty and the Black Stallion books were my favorites. I also read and re-read Louisa May Alcott’s titles and the Wind in the Willows. And I very fondly remember the 12 volume set of My Book House that spanned the spectrum from nursery tales to the world’s epics. (And I actually have all of these still in my possession!) Later, it was Andre Norton and Georgette Heyer.
    But, it wasn’t until I entered the library field that the great panorama of children’s literature opened to me…and now there are many favorites…Lloyd Alexander, Susan Cooper, and others. I’ve discovered the best of children’s literature really has no age limit…it is for all ages.

    Reply
  87. Since I was a horse-mad child, Black Beauty and the Black Stallion books were my favorites. I also read and re-read Louisa May Alcott’s titles and the Wind in the Willows. And I very fondly remember the 12 volume set of My Book House that spanned the spectrum from nursery tales to the world’s epics. (And I actually have all of these still in my possession!) Later, it was Andre Norton and Georgette Heyer.
    But, it wasn’t until I entered the library field that the great panorama of children’s literature opened to me…and now there are many favorites…Lloyd Alexander, Susan Cooper, and others. I’ve discovered the best of children’s literature really has no age limit…it is for all ages.

    Reply
  88. Since I was a horse-mad child, Black Beauty and the Black Stallion books were my favorites. I also read and re-read Louisa May Alcott’s titles and the Wind in the Willows. And I very fondly remember the 12 volume set of My Book House that spanned the spectrum from nursery tales to the world’s epics. (And I actually have all of these still in my possession!) Later, it was Andre Norton and Georgette Heyer.
    But, it wasn’t until I entered the library field that the great panorama of children’s literature opened to me…and now there are many favorites…Lloyd Alexander, Susan Cooper, and others. I’ve discovered the best of children’s literature really has no age limit…it is for all ages.

    Reply
  89. Since I was a horse-mad child, Black Beauty and the Black Stallion books were my favorites. I also read and re-read Louisa May Alcott’s titles and the Wind in the Willows. And I very fondly remember the 12 volume set of My Book House that spanned the spectrum from nursery tales to the world’s epics. (And I actually have all of these still in my possession!) Later, it was Andre Norton and Georgette Heyer.
    But, it wasn’t until I entered the library field that the great panorama of children’s literature opened to me…and now there are many favorites…Lloyd Alexander, Susan Cooper, and others. I’ve discovered the best of children’s literature really has no age limit…it is for all ages.

    Reply
  90. Since I was a horse-mad child, Black Beauty and the Black Stallion books were my favorites. I also read and re-read Louisa May Alcott’s titles and the Wind in the Willows. And I very fondly remember the 12 volume set of My Book House that spanned the spectrum from nursery tales to the world’s epics. (And I actually have all of these still in my possession!) Later, it was Andre Norton and Georgette Heyer.
    But, it wasn’t until I entered the library field that the great panorama of children’s literature opened to me…and now there are many favorites…Lloyd Alexander, Susan Cooper, and others. I’ve discovered the best of children’s literature really has no age limit…it is for all ages.

    Reply
  91. I am surprised that no one else has mentioned some of my favorite authors: E Nesbitt, followed by the wonder Edgar Eager. I read Half Magic so many times I probably knew most of it by heart. And then of course there was The Little Princess. I read The Secret Garden, of course, but it wasn’t anywhere as wonderful as The Little Princess. These were followed by The Chronicles of Narnia, but valiant Nancy Drew was always nearby. I feel so sorry for young people today who are hard pressed to remember a single book from childhood fondly – far too many of them have not even read all the Harry Potter books but have only seen the movies.

    Reply
  92. I am surprised that no one else has mentioned some of my favorite authors: E Nesbitt, followed by the wonder Edgar Eager. I read Half Magic so many times I probably knew most of it by heart. And then of course there was The Little Princess. I read The Secret Garden, of course, but it wasn’t anywhere as wonderful as The Little Princess. These were followed by The Chronicles of Narnia, but valiant Nancy Drew was always nearby. I feel so sorry for young people today who are hard pressed to remember a single book from childhood fondly – far too many of them have not even read all the Harry Potter books but have only seen the movies.

    Reply
  93. I am surprised that no one else has mentioned some of my favorite authors: E Nesbitt, followed by the wonder Edgar Eager. I read Half Magic so many times I probably knew most of it by heart. And then of course there was The Little Princess. I read The Secret Garden, of course, but it wasn’t anywhere as wonderful as The Little Princess. These were followed by The Chronicles of Narnia, but valiant Nancy Drew was always nearby. I feel so sorry for young people today who are hard pressed to remember a single book from childhood fondly – far too many of them have not even read all the Harry Potter books but have only seen the movies.

    Reply
  94. I am surprised that no one else has mentioned some of my favorite authors: E Nesbitt, followed by the wonder Edgar Eager. I read Half Magic so many times I probably knew most of it by heart. And then of course there was The Little Princess. I read The Secret Garden, of course, but it wasn’t anywhere as wonderful as The Little Princess. These were followed by The Chronicles of Narnia, but valiant Nancy Drew was always nearby. I feel so sorry for young people today who are hard pressed to remember a single book from childhood fondly – far too many of them have not even read all the Harry Potter books but have only seen the movies.

    Reply
  95. I am surprised that no one else has mentioned some of my favorite authors: E Nesbitt, followed by the wonder Edgar Eager. I read Half Magic so many times I probably knew most of it by heart. And then of course there was The Little Princess. I read The Secret Garden, of course, but it wasn’t anywhere as wonderful as The Little Princess. These were followed by The Chronicles of Narnia, but valiant Nancy Drew was always nearby. I feel so sorry for young people today who are hard pressed to remember a single book from childhood fondly – far too many of them have not even read all the Harry Potter books but have only seen the movies.

    Reply
  96. From a very young age the worst punishment I could be threatened with was revocation of library privileges!
    I absolutely adored Alison Utteley’s A Traveller in Time and was delighted to find a beautiful Folio Society edition recently. It stood up well to re-reading to my delight – unlike Little Women, which left me cold when I returned to it for a comfort read recently.
    These days, I’m deeply jealous of my friend’s daughters who go to Rodean, the school which was the model for Mallory Towers. I get to visit from time to time and it is just how I imagined it would be.

    Reply
  97. From a very young age the worst punishment I could be threatened with was revocation of library privileges!
    I absolutely adored Alison Utteley’s A Traveller in Time and was delighted to find a beautiful Folio Society edition recently. It stood up well to re-reading to my delight – unlike Little Women, which left me cold when I returned to it for a comfort read recently.
    These days, I’m deeply jealous of my friend’s daughters who go to Rodean, the school which was the model for Mallory Towers. I get to visit from time to time and it is just how I imagined it would be.

    Reply
  98. From a very young age the worst punishment I could be threatened with was revocation of library privileges!
    I absolutely adored Alison Utteley’s A Traveller in Time and was delighted to find a beautiful Folio Society edition recently. It stood up well to re-reading to my delight – unlike Little Women, which left me cold when I returned to it for a comfort read recently.
    These days, I’m deeply jealous of my friend’s daughters who go to Rodean, the school which was the model for Mallory Towers. I get to visit from time to time and it is just how I imagined it would be.

    Reply
  99. From a very young age the worst punishment I could be threatened with was revocation of library privileges!
    I absolutely adored Alison Utteley’s A Traveller in Time and was delighted to find a beautiful Folio Society edition recently. It stood up well to re-reading to my delight – unlike Little Women, which left me cold when I returned to it for a comfort read recently.
    These days, I’m deeply jealous of my friend’s daughters who go to Rodean, the school which was the model for Mallory Towers. I get to visit from time to time and it is just how I imagined it would be.

    Reply
  100. From a very young age the worst punishment I could be threatened with was revocation of library privileges!
    I absolutely adored Alison Utteley’s A Traveller in Time and was delighted to find a beautiful Folio Society edition recently. It stood up well to re-reading to my delight – unlike Little Women, which left me cold when I returned to it for a comfort read recently.
    These days, I’m deeply jealous of my friend’s daughters who go to Rodean, the school which was the model for Mallory Towers. I get to visit from time to time and it is just how I imagined it would be.

    Reply

Leave a Comment