10 Books: Why My Childhood was Awesome

Reading was very big in our house when I was a kid. I was read to every single night far into my teen years (as time permitted). Hearing a story and getting a nice back rub was the way Mom helped me sleep and one of my most treasured childhood memories. My Mom does a great job of reading out loud. She has fantastic expression and there are certain phrases where I can hear her voice in my head. She built in me a love of reading that still, clearly, lives strong today. She endured many a trip to the bookstore to buy The Babysitter’s Club even after I could skip the first few chapters. (Yes, we know how the club was founded and we do in fact know that Dawn is a vegetarian, Kristy is a tom-boy, Stacey is sophisticated, Claudia is artsy, Mary Anne is a nerd, Mallory is white, and Jessie is black.)

I probably have just as many books for kids in my house as I do for grown ups. I love sharing the love of reading with little people.

  1. I Can Do It Myself (and the entire Sesame Street Books series). Teaching independence from an early age!
  2. Free to Be You and Me (book and record) “Bald, bald, bald” and “I’m a boy, you’re a girl”.
  3. The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. Moral of the story-urban sprawl sucks people.
  4. Care Bears: A Sister for Sam  “Cheer Bear, who always knew the right thing to say, answered….”
  5. The Little Lamb and The Little Rabbit (Golden Books) by the Dunn’s. I still love the 1970’s photographs in these books. And The Little Rabbit features Sarah and her Dad whose arms look exactly like my Dad’s…
  6. The Best Nest and Are You My Mother by P.D. Eastman. Sing with me now, “this is my house, this is my nest, in all the world my nest is best.” What? You don’t know the tune? That is because it is a Mumay original. Don’t be jealous, my Mom is awesome.
  7. The Berenstain Bears and Too Much TV (and all Berenstain Bears books). As a child (and adult) who watches tv this book was a good way to remind me not to become a vidiot.
  8. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. The first “real” book I ever finished. Still more awesome than the films, though Gene Wilder is my only Willy Wonka.
  9. The Indian and the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks. Mrs. Foote, my 6th grade teacher, read this aloud to us every afternoon. I can still hear her voice saying “Omri” as we laid our sweaty heads on our cool formica desks on a hot spring day.
  10. Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume. I was a girl born between 1965 and 1980. This book was a must read and it still should be. Thank you Judy.
  11. BONUS BOOK: The Babysitter’s Club#15, Little Miss Stoneybrook…and Dawn. These girls were my best friends from late elementary until long past it was appropriate for me to be buying their books. I think I read into the #80’s and about 10 of the Super Specials. They tackled topics large and small and while the first few chapters were always repetitive (see above), they were awesome. Again, as a child growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, these were kind of must-reads….

And tomorrow: books that taught me about running.

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