Insights into the Soul

“When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.” – You’ve Got Mail (1998)

While that may be a sweeping and romantic generality, it does raise this question: Which children’s books left marks on your life?

If I had to limit it to ten, then here’s my list (in no particular order):

  • Nancy Drew Mystery Stories (volumes 1-56) by Carolyn Keene
  • Trixie Belden (volumes 1-34) by Kathryn Kenny
  • The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes by Kenneth Taylor (1956 edition)
  • Hamilton by Robert Newton Peck (illustrated by Laura Lydecker)
  • Mozart by Helen L. Kaufmann
  • George Washington by Enid LaMonte Meadowcraft
  • Annie Oakley by Edmund Collier
  • Amelia Earhart by Adele de Leeuw
  • Florence Nightingale by Margaret Leighton
  • Clara Barton by Olive Price

The last six on my list are Signature Books, which Grosset and Dunlap sold by subscription in the 1950s and 1960s. I read my father’s boyhood collection, which fell slightly short of the full 51 volumes. I recall that on the endpapers of each book was an illustrated timeline of that person’s life. The endpapers alone provided hours of speculation and entertainment, and my father’s well-preserved collection was extensive enough to feed my curiosity for years upon years!

Well, that’s my short list.  What’s yours?