by Jeanne Adams
How old were you when you started reading? If you like to read now, that started somewhere, right? So…where?
Do you remember the first “real” book you read?
No, I don’t mean See Spot Run. Ha! I mean the first story that affected you. Anna Campbell’s Big Fat Book post got me thinking about Kid Books.
(Yes, it was a convoluted path from that sexy Riders cover to this, but hey…)
So, for you, what was “THE BEGINNING” ? (cue the music from the 10 Commandments)
For me, since my father’s a Librarian, The Beginning was at the Library. As a kid, I loved anything with fur or feathers. (Have to confess I’m still not a reptile fan, except for dragons) Tell that to an astute Children’s Librarian and s/he will pile your arms with books – fiction and non - about animals. (Note: I just LOVE Librarians!)
For horses, I started at the beginning. Billy And Blaze: A Boy And His Horse(Anderson) were ancient, but well loved books in my library’s Children’s Room. I graduated to BLACK BEAUTY (Sewel), National Velvet> (Bagnold) and a fabulous book on life, growing up and harness racing called Red Horse Hill (Meader) which made me want to move to New Hampshire. From there I read non-fiction about Shires, Clydesdales and Connemaras.
I deeply wanted a dog, but my folks said no. So Lad: A Dog (A.P. Terhune), Big Red (Kjelgaard), Azeet, paratrooper dog (Gur), Call of the Wild (London), the REAL 101 Dalmatians(Smith), and Silver Chief Dog of the North (O'Brien) became my pets.
In reading O’Brien and London, I found adventure stories. OH! The wonders! Swiss Family Robinson (Wyss), The Black Arrow (Stevenson ), Ivanhoe (Scott), Captain Blood and The Sea Hawk (Sabatini), Robin Hood Tales,The Egypt Game (Snyder) and (tribal drum roll please) Tarzan of the Apes .
To my mother’s great dismay, for weeks I lived, slept, breathed and ate while holding a book by Edgar Rice Burroughs. There are 10+ in the Tarzan series alone. From his John Carter of Mars tales, I transitioned to the fantasy realms of the late great Andre Norton, as well as Robert Heinlein, Arthur Clarke, Zelazney and so on.
All these gave way to stories about relationships, friendships and adventure – Heidi (Spyri), The Complete Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery, Captains Courageous , The Jungle Book (Kipling), Tales of the South Pacific(Michener) and so on. Or to stories of fantasy and the supernatural: The Hobbit, LOTR (Tolkein), The Chronicles of Narnia Boxed Set (Lewis), The Exorcist (Blatty. The only book my parents ever tried to censor), The Once and Future King (DH White), A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (Twain).
I read the obligatory school-reads like Lord of the Flies (Golding), A Separate Peace (Knowles), and the dread The Crucible (Miller, Ugh), but the ones I search for are those oldies which evoke a vivid image from the tale. The bear fight in Big Red. When the weakling heir finds his inner Survivor and his mate in The Cave Girl (Burroughs) The quiet scene with the cocker spaniel as Pongo and Perdita search for their missing pups. The mines of Moria. (Shudder)
Most are HEA – happily ever after – which eventually led me to Romance…but that’s another story altogether…
So this flashback made me wonder what would be the Anne of Green Gables for the next generation. I asked a friend, fellow 2006 Golden Heart pal Lavinia Klein, what her daughter was reading these days and got a GREAT list…(I didn’t see my old favorites on Becca’s list, but I chalk that up to my early Children’s Librarian being into TRADITIONAL books. Oh, and me being animal mad. Yeah, that’s the reason.) BTW, I’ve already made a trip to the library and B&N to snag some of Becca’s recommendations, as well as ordering Anna’s Silver Brumby stories. (TOLDja I’d read 'em Anna!)
Here’s some from Becca’s list, I edited for space, but kept a pretty good list of titles from her favs. (Note to those buying for teens, the Peterfreund and Gleason contain either sex or sensuality!)
Poison Study (Study, Book 1) (all the Study books) by Maria V. Snyder, (Mira) The Bridei Chronicles (The Dark Mirror is book one) and Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier, (TOR) Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1) Twilight, Eclipse and New Moon by Stephanie Meyer, (Little, Brown) Rowan Hood: Outlaw Girl of Sherwood Forest (Rowan Hood) by Nancy Springer (Puffin) Secret Society Girl: An Ivy League Novel (Ivy League), The Secret Society Girl books by Diana Peterfreund, (Delta) The Luxe by Anna Godberson, (HarperTeen) The Rest Falls Away: The Gardella Vampire Chronicles (Signet Eclipse) by Colleen Gleason, Gossip Girl, The Carlyles #1 (Gossip Girl) by Cecily von Ziegesar, (Poppy) The Year Of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty (Scholastic paperbacks).
Do you see YOUR favorites listed? If not, what’s YOUR fav Kid Read? Was there anything your parents tried to, or did censor?
**Becca, don’t forget to look for our own Trish Milburn/Tricia Mill’s YA release, HEARTBREAK RIVER, Penguin, in Spring of 2009!