Hark! Our Favorite Books From Childhood
Updated: Mar 4, 2020
When my mother first read Boy by Roald Dahl to my sister and me, we were on a family camping trip by Magone Lake. That book, for me, is forever linked to my family's story: while we were reading about Dahl's childhood in Wales, I was exploring and learning about the area where my Welsh grandfather settled after immigrating to America in 1920. Books, beyond their plots, beyond their authors, collect our stories.
When we give a book as a gift, we're sharing a piece of ourselves, which is why I think the Holiday Book Drive is so special. (You didn't know you were reading an infomercial, did you?) I asked a few of our library friends to share their own beloved childhood books, their stories, with us. My suggestion is to enjoy the nostalgia to the roar of a Yule log.
When I was little I would grab my favorite blanket, find Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary, and head to my mom. Of course, she would always take the time to read to me. We would curl up on the sofa and I would listen to her read. Because I knew the story so well I would correct her if she messed up, and now my daughter does the same to me.
-Tara Dominick, Head of Library And Information Services
I remember two books always being in my room during my childhood: Fantastic Mr. Fox and Where the Sidewalk Ends. I read the poems from Silverstein a lot. Even though I never knew exactly what they meant, I loved the way the words sounded in my head.
-Marc Wilson, English Instructor
I had a book that was Mother Goose fairy tales. I remember going through the huge book and adoring the pictures. I still have the book to this day.
-Tanya Crawford, Health and PE Instructor
I grew up in the midst of the first great Pokémon Fever. Despite Power Rangers and Ninja Turtles being banned in our home, Pikachu and friends snuck through. The franchise has been accused of being a money making ploy, derided by snobbish cultural commentators and conservative religious figures alike. In all fairness, most of it has been a money making ploy. However at the core of Pokémon fever was a series of beautiful games accompanied by illustrations that fueled the imaginations of children around the world.
All children need fantastical characters to populate their play worlds, whether Herakles to the Greeks youths, Thor to the Vikings, or Wonder Woman for anyone able to assume her signature stance. To the children of the 90s, we were defended in the tall grass by a cuddly mouse who could fire lightning bolts from its chubby cheeks.
The pages of Let’s Find Pokemon! illustrated the world inside our minds, illustrated by Kazunori Aihara with breath-taking watercolor technique.
I recently pulled out my battered and much abused copy for my nephew. I could see the same fascination in his eyes as he pored over the pages for a half hour. I have NEVER seen him sit for that long, lost in wonder. Children, despite the grim reality of our planet, ache to play with the odd and fantastic creatures in the collective imagination. That will never change, but hopefully the hearts and imaginations of jaded adults will.
-Chase Van Weerdhuizen, Recruiting Coordinator
My favorite book was The Mouse and The Motorcycle because of all of the adventures. My father has always called me Mouse as a nickname and still does to this day.
-Dr. Dana Young, TVCC President
Tow-truck Pluck (Pluk van de Petteflet) is a Dutch children's book by writer Annie M.G. Schmidt. I had just learned how to read and was given the book for my birthday. The book and I were inseparable for weeks! I would carry the book with me everywhere, taking time to carefully sound out the words (and then have to read the sentence again to make sense of it!). I especially loved Fiep Westendorp's illustrations, and Schmidt's blend of realistic and not-so realistic characters in the book: Mr. Penn (the bookstore owner), Zaza the cockroach, and the Stamper family that consists of a single dad and his six boys among several others.
When Pluck had to go on a long voyage in his little red tow-truck to save the park, I remember asking my mom to read that part for me because I was afraid it wouldn't turn out well! It's a book I still read at least once a year, and it takes me right back to my childhood.
-Nicole Baird, Instructional Designer
I have so many books from childhood that I love. The first one that stands out was Jenny, Sam and the Invisible Hildegarde. It was the first time I recall a book transporting me into the story. My mother read it to me a few pages at a time before bed. It was the first book we didn’t read cover to cover in one sitting.
-Jessica Breidinger, Criminal Justice Instructor
My best book memory is The Lord of the Rings which my dad read aloud to my sister and I when we were in elementary school. My dad had different voices for each of the characters and we couldn’t wait to get read to every night. What an exciting trilogy…and yes, he read us all three books out loud!! (We didn’t have TV.)
-Arwyn Larson, Science Instructor
One of my favorite books growing was The Indian In The Cupboard. One of my elementary school teachers would read it to us after recess each day to regroup before moving to the next subject. She would turn the lights off in the classroom and would encourage us to close our eyes, relax and draw the story in our minds. It’s a book I gift to my nieces and nephews once they hit the double digits.
-Sandy Porter, Agricultural Science Instructor
Do you have a special book you'd like to share with someone this holiday season? Donate to the Holiday Book Drive!