This list of “top 100 children’s books” as voted on by readers of Junior Magazine in the UK, made me think about my relationships with book characters over the years, both as mom and kid. Heidi, Charlotte & Wilbur, Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy, the Cat in the Hat, The Jolly Postman, James and the BFG, all of them made this UK list, but there are so many more. If I were to make up such a list, as a parent, I’d have to include some Robert Munsch titles like Love You Forever, I Am Small (Sheree Fitch), Red is Best (Kathy Stinson), Mr. Patapoum’s First Trip (Gilles Tibo), The Velveteen Rabbit (Margery Williams), and The Giving Tree (Shel Silverstein)
The list of picture books that stand out for me from my own childhood would include Blueberries for Sal, Snipp, Snapp and Snurr (3 Swedish boys), The Elves and the Shoemaker, Ollie Bakes a Cake, The Thornton W. Burgess books, Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden and so many more, the names of which I forget, but I’d love to have a chance to revisit my childhood library, as it was in 1965, or so. Characters in books become genuine friends for kids, and I guess as writers, our challenge is in trying to create those real-life, living, breathing, thinking, feeling human beings (or animals) in print, as people for young readers to get to know and spend time with as friends.
As a footnote, I had to resort to Google more than once as I was writing this post:( Who do you remember from the pages of your childhood?
4 thoughts on “Heidi, Charlotte & Wilbur, Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore”
I started out bring home the Bobbsey Twins when I was quite young, and naturally progressed to Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. As much as I loved those mysteries back then I don’t often read them today nor have I ever considered writing one.. I was also a fan of Hans Christian Anderson . I love the story of the Little Match Girl.
I forgot all about the Bobbsey Twins, but I’m sure I read every single one of their books a few decades back. When Shannon was reading Nancy Drew in elementary school, I was amazed at how simple they seem now – wonder if a publisher would still pick them up in this day and age of picky publishers!
For me it was Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, Black Beauty and Pollyanna. There were many others but those four have remained my friends forever. I still delight in rereading them from time to time with children, grandchildren and my ESL students.
Don’t know how I forgot Anne Shirley! And I think we had my mother’s copy of Pollyanna when we were little – I’ve been saving my kids’ favorites over the years – just in case they have kids of their own one day. The funny thing is, when I pull one out and say, “Remember me reading this to you about 1000 times or so?” sometimes they have only a vague recollection of the book – maybe they meant more then, and now, to me:) I worked as an ESL tutor for four years, too. I see you had a book launch recently…congratulations!