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?