It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? – Revisiting My Childhood Friends


It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week.  Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers

One of the jobs on my summer “to do” list was to sort through my boxes and bins of books.  Now this job could have been done in a much more timely manner had it not been for the fact that every book I touched – I wanted to read!!!   But when I opened a box and discovered a collection of books from my childhood – I was done!  For the next several hours, days, weeks now I have been revisiting these moments of my childhood through the pages of these books.  Though the pages are browning and the covers tattered, the words and stories are a nostalgic smorgasbord for my soul.   Here is a glimpse into my childhood library:

       Family Stories


Little House on the Prairie – Laura Ingles Wilder

My dad bought me my very first book when I had the chicken pox in grade 4 – Little House on The Prairie.  From the moment I started reading about Laura, Carrie, Mary, Ma, Pa, Mrs. Beadle and the dreaded Nellie Olsen and their life in Walnut Grove I was hooked.  I read every book in the series at least twice, living through the days, seasons and years with this beloved family.


All of A Kind Family – Sydney Taylor

The adventures of 5 sisters from a  Jewish family growing up in New York’s Lower East Side at the turn of the century.   I remember lying in bed reading about these girls, visualizing their house, Mama’s front parlor, Papa’s peddler shop, bags of penny candy from the candy store, playing “hide the button” in the parlor.  I also learned a lot about the Jewish faith and traditions reading these books. 

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Betsy Books Carolyn Haywood

I got a bit teary when I pulled these two books out of the box.  Betsy, Billy, their family, their school friends and Mr. Kirkpatrick, the policeman – I loved them all.

Pippi Longstocking – Astrid Lindgren

Even though Tommy and Annika’s neighbor Pippi did not have a family of her own, I remember with fondness her crazy red hair, striped socks, nameless white horse (did that horse have a name?) and her monkey Mr. Neilson.  Quirky and fun!

Bear Stories


Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne

Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Owl, Rabbit and dear Christopher Robin were so very dear to me.  There was a gentleness about the Hundred Acre woods that brought me quiet joy.


Teddy Robinson – Joan G. Robinson

My mum was born in England so we were brought up with her British influence on our book choices.  Teddy Robinson was one such book she bought me back from England.  I remember his birthday party, his trip to the hospital and his play at the seaside, but most of all I remember his little rhymes he always said.

A Bear Called Paddington – Michael Bond


The story of a little bear in a blue duffle coat left at Paddington Train station with a sign that reads “Please Look After This Bear” – who could resist it?


Rupert Bear 

Every Christmas, my Auntie Joan sent me a Rupert Annual from England.  I loved reading the adventures of this little white bear with his red jumper and yellow scarf.  It was, come to think of it, my first experience with a graphic novel as the stories were told in comic strip format.

Mystery Stories


Encyclopedia Brown – Boy Detective – Donald J. Sobol

I was TOTALLY hooked on this series of a boy detective who set up a dedective agency in his yard and solved the mysteries of his neighbourhood.  I loved that the answer to the mystery was in a little square text box at the back of the book – I did my best not to peek before I finished the chapter!


Nancy Drew – Carolyn Keene

When I was younger I would lie awake and dream that I turned into Nancy Drew – Teenage detective using her courage and savy detective skill to solve mysterious happenings! 


The Secret of Spiggy Holes – Enid Blyton

Another mystery series from the UK. This one was my favorite!  Mike, Peggy, Nora and their friend Jack go exploring in the caves on the beach and discover a prince being held captive in an old house!  Exciting stuff!

Magical  Stories

finn family
Finn Family Moomintroll – Tove Janson
I was completely mesmorized by these whimsical little stories and creatures – centered around the Hobgoblin’s magical hat.  My favorite memory of this book was the chapter about the eggshells turning into clouds that the Moomins flew around on.  I also remember being a bit scared of the hattifatters!

Twig – Elizabeth Orton Jones

Twig is a story of little girl who turns an upside down tomato can into a house for a fairy.   With a little magic from Elf, she shrinks, lives in the can with Elf and drinks water out of a bottle cap. I know this does not sound very exciting – but I think I read this book more than any other.  I loved the imaginary and the magic.  Charming illustrations too.

Stories of Naughty Children


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My Naughty Little Sister  – Dorothy Edwards

Oh, how I loved these books as a child and then enjoyed them all over again when I read them to my boys when they were little.  This naughty girl, younger sister to the narrator, is stubborn, greedy, and full of mischief. She tries to cut off the cat’s tail; she bites Santa’s hand; and she and Bad Harry eat all the pudding at Harry’s party.  Shirley Hughes’s illustrations are delightful. 

The Children on Trouble Maker Street – Astrid Lindgren

Lotta and her older brother and sister Jonas and Maria brought me so much laughter as they hung pancakes on a tree, pretending they were leaves, put meatballs down the chimney and stuck salami on the train window.

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The Naughtiest Girl and St. Clare’sEnid Blyton

Long before Hogwarts, I was reading about girls in boarding schools getting into trouble!

Thanks for stopping by this week.  I enjoyed sharing these childhood treasures.  I’d love to hear about some of your favorite childhood books!







Filed under It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

17 responses to “It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? – Revisiting My Childhood Friends

  1. Oh my, Adrienne, so many favorites here, but of my children as they grew up and we read together! I especially love hearing about your favorites from England. Those “trouble-maker” books sound delightful, just what young children would adore! When I first started teaching, I taught first grade & read Winnie-the-Pooh with my students. Today I think people would say it was too hard, but we enjoyed it very much. And then I also read it with my daughter. My favorite growing up were the Betsy-Tacy books, others about young girls having adventures! Thanks for taking such time to write about your books and the memories of them. Wonderful!

    • Oh Linda – I DID love Betsy, Tacy and Tibb too! I had forgotten them until you mentioned them just now! I guess I didn’t have my own copies of them but now I’m going to search some old book stores to see if I can find them. I know many of these books have been re-issued but I love that mine are the originals! I understand what you are saying about Winnie the Pooh being a bit challenging – I remember finding the language difficult but loved when my mum would read it to my sister and me! Thanks for sharing in my memories!

  2. So delighted to see all of these titles. We read lots of Pooh to our kids. B used to say, “Christopher Robin is my boyfriend.” when she was about two! Memory lane for sure . . . 🙂

  3. What a fun trip down memory lane! No wonder it took you forever to get through the boxes…I might never have made it! I hope you boxed them right back up again so that you can experience the same magical feelings again in a few years time. I loved Nancy Drew & Encyclopedia Brown! A Wrinkly in Time and A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L’Engle definitely come to mind, as does anything by Lloyd Alexander. I was surprised that there was no LM Montgomery in your collection…I devoured everything she wrote, Anne of Green Gables or otherwise! There are so many more but I better stop now or I’ll blow the whole day going down that path!

    • My sister loved A Wrinkle in Time but I was not taken by the Sci-Fi theme and I think I tried to read it when I was too young so I didn’t like it. I really should revisit the book as I know it was a true classic. I DID love Anne of Green Gables – I could have added dozens of more titles – but had to stop somewhere! Yes, the books have been boxed back up but not too far from my reach! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Some of those books look very familiar! I loved going to my grandmother’s house when I was young because so many that you mentioned were there! I have very fond memories of reading some of the Little House books with my dad. I really want to read some of those with my daughter.

  5. thelogonauts

    So, so many good books! Love that you shared the “retro” covers too. The Little House books were always a big favorite here too.

    • I realized how many of these books have been re-published over the years – many with new covers. Somehow the old covers made my discovery even better! LOVED Little House books – did you ever watch the TV show?

  6. Hello there Adrienne. I love this post for so many reasons, one of which is your sharing of your literary autobiography! This is exactly it! The books that transformed you into a lifelong reader! I am currently doing a research with my teacher-students on exactly this topic. I have been doing several interviews quite recently, and asking them about the books that shaped them – the books that were their companions during their growing up years. And then I see it here with you illustrated and featured in such a glowing manner, my heart is filled. A lot of the titles here are very familiar to me too. But what I can remember distinctly is my father bringing me an entire BOX of Dr. Seuss and ‘I Can Read’ books – that is what made me the reader that I am now. Then of course Charlie Brown Encyclopedia (did you have those?), my beloved Childcraft Encyclopedia, and yes, Sweet Valley High series!!! 🙂

  7. Dearest Myra – thank you for your detailed comments about my post! I loved reading about your favorite childhood books. What a coincidence that both of us have memories of our fathers bringing us a special book that had such impacts on us! Such a great research project to interview your students for the books that shaped their literacy lives! I would love to hear more about this! Thanks again!

  8. I went through boxes of books this summer and found a bunch that my mom had saved. Among them I found “One Morning in Maine” by Robert McCloskey. *sigh*
    I loved this post because it reminded me of the Betsy books. I thought I was the only one who read them! And, isn’t Star just a lovely name for a little sister? (I recall that couldn’t convince my parents to name my little sister that at the time…)

    • One Morning in Maine is one of my all time favorite picture book! It is the book that I make the most connections to and use it when I model my thinking to my class! Betsy books – so many memories in those pages. I read and re-read those books over and over! Glad the post brought back good book memories for you!

    • We appear to have read the same books! I LOVED the Betsy books and One Morning in Maine was definitely one of my very favorites and I use it as my “special connect” book when modelling “making connections” to my students. I loved your comment about naming your little sister “Star”!

  9. Pingback: [Saturday Reads] Proust and the Provocations of the Written Word | Gathering Books

    • Myra – what a lovely surprise to find you had shared my blog post about my “childhood friends” on your amazing blog! This is a HUGE compliment to me as I admire your blog so much and felt honored to be mentioned! What a wonderful study you are doing – searching out the books that shaped people’s lives! Thank you for all that you do to share books on your amazing blog!

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