Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My Bookshelf

For 18 years I was the librarian at a home for abused and neglected kids. It was a small library, somewhere between 10 and 15 thousand books. It was just for the use of the kids and staff. When I started I didn't know a thing about cataloging books and took a "crash course" from the librarians at the local public library. Years later it occurred to me I'd been a life-long librarian because I was shelving and keeping books long before I became a pseudo-librarian. So I was thinking the other day about books that I've hung on to.

From my childhood there are many:
The Cat in the Hat
The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde
The World of Pooh and The World of Christopher Robin
Little Brother and Little Sister: a 1917 edition of Grimm Fairy Tales with illustrations by Arthur Rackham
Stories That Never Grow Old with tales like "The Bremen Town Musicians," "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," "How the Finch Got Her Colors," "The Pied Piper of Hamelin," and "The Little Engine that Could." It was edited by Watty Piper and illustrated by George and Doris Hauman
The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald
Pinocchio edited by Watty Piper and illustrated by Tony Sarg
Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith
Andersen's Fairy Tales illustrated by Arthur Szyk
The Patchwork Girl of Oz by L. Frank Baum

These are just a few of the books that were on my bookshelf as a child and which I still have. Somehow they survived the tropics and my traveling around. They are worn. Some have their bindings reinforced with tape, others I recovered completely with fabric. In some my name is scrawled in a my awkward child's hand. In some those blank white pages at the front and back of the books are graced with pictures I drew. Isn't that what those blank pages are for? In other I colored the black and white illustrations.

As an adult I have hung on to way more books than I could possibly list. But here are a few that I reread once ever 5, 10 or 15 years.
Islandia by Austin Tappan Wright
The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
The Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin, Jr.
Green Mansions by W. H. Hudson

Books that inspire:
Light and the Path by M. C. (Mabel Collins)
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
I Say Sunrise by Talbot Mundy

Do you have any books from your childhood? Are there any you reread from time to time?


  1. I love your list!!! How fantastic! I love remembering the books I read as a child starting from Brown Bear, Brown Bear and working my way up to R.L. Stines Goosebumps! What a fun memory!!

  2. I don't really remember picture books--I'm so far removed from them now. But Shel Silverstein was someone I adored as a kid. And there's this one picture book made by Sesame Street called "There's a Monster at the End of this Book" that I re-read and re-read and re-read.

    Most indelible, though, would be the Chronicles of Narnia and Robin McKinley's The Hero and the Crown. Perfect writing, in my book.

  3. My brother and I learned how to read at a young age, but my mom would still read out loud to us for years and years. The books she read to us really stand out in my memory.

    Two books in particular that I know directly influenced my passion for story-telling were Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs and The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald. I see you have The Princess and Curdie listed--I don't think I ever read that one.

  4. I have a lot of the early readers from when I was a child that now sit on my children's shelves. And some of the stories that I liked when I was in junior high and older, I've repurchased so that I can enjoy them again as an adult.

  5. Sadly, I don't have any books from my childhood. I remember reading from my mother's copy of A Child's Garden of Verses--I can still picture the cover!

  6. I still have a copy of Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling from when I was a kid. It has my name handwritten on the front cover, which always makes me smile.

  7. Hi Bish, I found your blog from your comment over at Unedited. So I thought I would stop by, comment and follow.

    Feel free to visit my blog and do the same.

    Growing up in the Virgin Islands sounds amazing, but I'm sure it's not as romantic as it sounds.

    I don't have many books left from my childhood, I wish I did. The only one I have that I cherish is the boxed set of the Lord of the Rings trilogy that my dad used to read out loud to us kids.

  8. I'm a pseudo-librarian like you, and also had a "real" library job -- not 18 years, though. I do have books from childhood. A copy of Mother Goose rhymes that served as my prop in the second grade when I played Mother Goose in the school program. And another volume of fairy tales and verses that my mom read to us until the cover fell off. I suppose my two favorites are Anne of Green Gables and Little Women.

  9. Thanks everyone for your comments! I feel pretty lucky to have all these books from my childhood. And there others still, MORE!

  10. I have two series of books that I like to read once in a while. They're like security blankets.

  11. I had at least half a dozen of your books including 'A Child's Garden of Verse'. (Pretty ironic, one of the poems: "Little Turk or Japanee / Don't you wish that you were me?" Which I'm hoping was ironically meant.) Carol Ryrie Brink's 'Baby Island'. I loved that book from way back when. I reread it not so long ago and still found it compelling. I've reread 'The Calico Bush' recently too and loved it.

    We had a Grimms book too and it WAS grim. I remember being freaked out by some of the stories of dismemberment and murder.

  12. I have a hard time parting with any books, let alone those I adore from childhood. Some of my childhood favorites are: The Giving Tree and A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein, A Wrinkle in Time, The Phantom Tollbooth, and too many Roald Dahl and Dr. Seuss books to list...

    I love your lists BTW!

  13. All of the Wizard of Oz books - those were special days for me when I was reading those stories.

    Plus, I've read Salem's Lot more than once or even twice.

  14. I love your list too.

    As a child, I owned few books, so I read them over and over. And if I loved one from the library, I borrowed it constantly.

    Some favorites:
    The Lorax
    The Best Loved Doll
    Hello Aurora
    Stuart Little
    Charlotte's Web
    All of Judy Blume's books
    A bunch of Beverly Cleary's books


Your Random Thoughts are most welcome!