“There is no friend as loyal as a book.” Ernest Hemingway (well, maybe my dog)

DSC03220A writing friend sent me this sweet picture of her granddaughter reading RAINBOWS, and it got me thinking about the importance of certain books in my own life.  In particular, the books I remember from being a kid.  My sister and I had a long discussion this summer about a book we both remembered well – well, everything except for the title!  She spent an evening tracking the book down as a Christmas gift for me, and here it is:

The New House in the ForestI don’t remember exactly why it was such a favourite, but I think it had something to do with wishing we could have a sweet cozy house in the woods built for our family, or maybe it was because the kids seemed to have such a perfect life among the animals since we had a short-lived Nature Club once upon a time:) Maybe this book is also why I’ve always been a fan of old-fashioned illustrations (these are by Eloise Wilkin).

I always browse through the books when I visit used clothing stores, and I came upon this one the other day, which I picked up for $1.50:

The Littlest Angel

When I Googled it today, I discovered there are many versions, but this is the one we used to own, with illustrations from 1962. I had a baby sister die in 1967, so it’s easy to see why this became a favourite in my family as we struggled with the concepts of angels, heaven, etc. In fact, I continue to struggle with those concepts – this will become obvious when THE POWER OF HARMONY comes out this spring…

As a kids’ writer, my primary goal is to create something kids will like, a story that will speak to them on some level, and maybe even become part of their childhood memory libraries, a lofty goal indeed. What picture books spring to mind as your childhood favourites?  Can you remember why they were your favourites? I think I’m about 14 in the header picture above – pretty sure my Nana P’s hidden Harlequins were my favs then…

6 thoughts on ““There is no friend as loyal as a book.” Ernest Hemingway (well, maybe my dog)

  1. There was a copy of The Three Bears that I enjoyed but it also gave me nightmares about a bear that visited in the night and tried to take me away. My dad couldn’t seem to convince me that there were no bears in the southern Alberta prairies. When i was in elementary school, the Bobbsey Twins were my favourite. Love the header picture!

    1. All those old fairy tales have sinister elements to them – I was terrified of the witch in the candy house in Hansel and Gretel – guess the illustrator of the Golden Book edition we had did a good job creating her! And the Bobbsey Twins – didn’t they enjoy such a perfect life? I suppose today’s kids would consider them pretty boring…

  2. I love your cover photo. You haven’t changed a bit, just got your hair cut..LOL!!

    I still have an old book of bedtime stories Mum used to read to us we were younger. It’s in pretty rough shape, with the covers missing, but it’s nice to get it out every now and again. 🙂

    Really looking forward to your new book!

    1. Well, and I have bangs now:) We had one of those bedtime storybooks, too – I think it was called “365 Bedtime Stories” – same one? I still have only a couple of my original picture books, and they’re in rough shape, too. Remember Spirograph? That’s why I chose this background – I’m addicted to messing around with my WP theme.

  3. When I was a child, The Littlest Angel was my favourite Christmas story of all. Even though I display the book at our writer’s Christmas Carol Sing every year (among other collected favourite picture books from my childhood), no one else in Inklinks seemed to know of this one. Seeing it here, on your blog, brought back memories of my childhood, and I was happy knowing that someone else loves it, too, even though it’s sadly connected to the loss of your sister. My first reading experience was with the 1946 edition, which unfortunately, was left behind in one of my family’s frequent moves. You also mentioned another favourite book of mine–A Prayer for Owen Meany. I enjoy your blog entries very much! Peggy Pilkey

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Peggy. It’s always nice to hear from a fellow kid lit lover, and to know that I’m not only blogging for myself – although I do find it to be sort of a nice diary, since I’ve never been able to get into the habit of keeping a paper diary. Happy spring!

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