My Favorite Children’s Books When I was a Child

Little Golden Books courtesy Ebay.com

The books I remember most as a young child were the Little Golden Books. These were the books I could read on my own. The four above, particularly The Poky Little Puppy were favorites.These were called Board books, likely because the covers were made of cardboard. I don’t remember how much they cost then, but it was not a lot of money at all. This would have been in the 1940’s.

When I was older, my favorite was Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. And still later, perhaps around 12 – 14, my favorites that I read on my own were the Nancy Drew mysteries. These are stories I remember that cast young children as heroes in their own times, and Nancy Drew was particularly strong in portraying the star character as a very feminist type young lady, driving a sportster and fearlessly solving mysteries with her good friend.  She seemed to be very much in charge of directing her own life and making decisions that looking back, seem very forward for the times. I don’t remember what year(s) it might have been, but I remember when libraries were trying unsuccessfully to ban the Nancy Drew Mysteries for being poor literature.  A similar group of books for boys were the Hardy Boys mysteries.

A little known fact is that the ideas for the books were created by a prolific writer, Edward Stratemeyer.  In 1905, he created a network of freelance writers and editors. The main strategy of Stratemeyer’s Syndicate was to produce a huge number of books at the lowest possible cost, something he achieved with great success.Stratemeyer’s Syndicate created perhaps hundreds of ideas for books with ghostwriters that proved highly profitable for him. Writers signed away their rights to royalties and bylines for a flat fee, which in the beginning was around $100 for a book. Stratemeyer’s syndicate launched dozens of series, guessing that only a few would be hits. Tom Swift debuted in 1910,  The Hardy Boys in 1927, and Nancy Drew in 1930. Stratemeyer died in New Jersey in 1930, as more of a tycoon than a writer.

What books can you remember as your childhood favorites?

Who Will I Be Today?

Annies Who Will I be today quilt

Art Quilt by Anne Copeland

I know you cannot see the whole quilt, and I would like you to be able to do that. This was made some years ago as an exchange quilt.  We each send a package of fabrics we want to have in our quilt, and the other person does the same.  A middle person handles all the fabrics, sending them to different people, and the quilt we make for this unknown person will be returned to them when we are done and all the pieces have been collected by that middle person.

We all have a dual nature, and we generally take on one or the other each day.  Just as we have day and night, cold and warm, floods and droughts, love and hate, success and failure, so we can choose to be one personality or the other.

I always love this quote from the book, Advice from a Failure, by Jo Coudert.  “Of all the people you will know in a lifetime, you are the only one you will never leave nor lose. To the question of your life, you are the only answer. To the problems of your life, you are the only solution.”

 

Celebrating a Great Teacher

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The Learning Tree Classroom Door Decoration by Anne Copeland

In my lifetime, I have come across two teachers who have been the best teachers I have ever known.  The first one I knew as a young teenager, struggling through being a shy person, and one with very little to inspire me at school.

She was a young teacher, very pretty and she drove a red convertible Corvette.  We all loved her.  She would bring photos and newspaper clippings and jazz music to the classroom, and we would all write about it.  She taught us so many things just by all the things she was introducing to us.

After one of our writing assignments was being handed back to us with our grades, when she got to me, she whispered in my ear, “You are going to be a great writer.”  My heart soared and my paper had an A on it.  I went home smiling in my heart, and the first chance I got to have money to pay for it, I got some business cards that said my name and address with “Writer” on it.  How clearly and easily I had made that decision.

Years later, I ran into an old classmate from that class and I told her about how great that teacher was.  And then she told me that the teacher had told all of the young people in the class including my friend the same thing.  What a lasting legacy she left with all of us.  I wish I could ever find her again to thank her.

I have another more recent friend I met in an online correspondence course, The Silent Eye Mystery School, a fantastic class that involves Archaeology (one of my degrees), History, Philosophy, Psychology, Science and Spirituality.  Three wonderful people founded and run the course:  Steve Tanham, Sue Vincent, and Stuart France.  We have been traveling via posts all over England studying all the great ruins, the churches, the castles and the amazing forts.  All three of them have written lots of fantastic books.

In one of the posts online, I met a lovely lady named Jennie, and she is one of the most dedicated preschool teachers I have ever known. https://jenniefitzkee.com/author/jlfatgcs/ is her writing, and her blog is called “A Teacher’s Reflections.”

Jennie writes: “I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It’s the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That’s what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease’s bestselling book, The Read-Aloud Handbook because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.”

I would like to give each of these women some sort of certificate of honor if I could.  I have worked in the school districts myself, and I appreciate a truly incredible teacher as these two women have been.  Thank you both for helping to make a positive difference in young lives.