“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?