My kids love a good story and with summer reading programs all wrapped up, it got me thinking about the books that influence us from our childhood. When you look back, do any particular stories come to mind? Stories that shaped you, molded you and played a role in directing you toward the person you would grow up to be?
For me, while I always knew I wanted to be a writer, I wasn’t reading books on writing. I was reading stories of whimsy and history. Stories of life and adventure. But before I could even read, my parents read to me–opening up a love for story and our rich American history. Many of those titles have stuck with me and looking back, I can see how they influenced me in so many ways. I’ll share a few of mine and I would love it if you shared some of yours!
When I was Young in the Mountains
This is the book that introduced me to the Appalachian culture… from grandma’s hot cocoa to swimming in the watering hole to the smells and sights of the general store, I developed a love for the mountains and who knew that years later, I would end up marrying a mountain boy? 🙂
Little House in The Big Woods
I can’t tell you how many times I read this series.
I loved learning about Pa making bullets, Laura and Mary playing under the big trees and making corn cob dolls and helping their ma make cheese and bread and savoring the blessings of love and family.
I absolutely loved these books. Laced with fun and rich history, the American Girl books piqued my curiosity for storytelling and of days-gone-by. I always remembering reading the last book in each set about change and learning that life is an adventure. All of these books played a huge roll in preparing me for what lay ahead and were a great way to discover the beauty of American history. I can’t wait to read these with my daughter!
Your turn! What are some of the books that touched you as a child and have stuck with you to this day? Have they effected who you’ve become and what you do?
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Book release guest spot:
Talking Be Still My Soul and Romance on “Tag(g)lines”
Lois Lenski, Beverly Cleary, Marguerite Henry. Wow, these bring back memories!
Lol, it’s fun, isn’t it? I keep getting memories of perusing the library as a kids and savoring that dusty smell of books, poking through the shelves for that next adventure. 🙂
As you can see, I couldn’t wait until tomorrow.
I had totally forgotten about Little House in the Big Woods. That was very frequently checked out by yours truely.
Thanks for sharing!
Just chuckling…Lindy! You made it tonight =) We both did! Isn’t that just one of the best books? I loved reading it as a kid and love reading now to my children. They sit and study those pictures so deeply. So many good lessons in that series.
Girl, since we were both born the same year, we were bound to have some of the same books! I loved the Little House books and the American Girl books! Loved the Ramona books too, and Babysitters Club. Nancy Drew, Boxcar Children…ah, so many! Too many to recall but right now I’m picturing myself in the beanbag chair in my elementary school library. Heaven. Pure heaven.
Oh my goodness, Lindsay, I think I read all of the Babysitters club! Also remember the Boxcar children! Loved those! I used to think of what an adventure that would be. I can totally see you in that bean bag chair. Was there anything better than curling up with a new story or beloved characters? 🙂
You two ready for this? I was IN the Babysitters Club. OK, well, maybe not THE Babysitters Club, but a group of friends at school who loved the series formed a club, met in the school library at lunch, took on characters and roles (I was Marianne, my favorite one)… I think it probably lasted all of three meetings. Smashing success.
That’s awesome! Amanda, I can only imagine how organized your club had to be with you in it!! That is so fun! I liked Marianne too.
All my life I’ve always been worried that I was such a dork. Now to know that I wasn’t alone…where have you guys been all my life?!
Now that we’ve found each other, we can never let each other go. LOL. And I totally just commented like a bazillion times on your blog. Sorry, Joanne! This topic clearly gets me excited…
Did you just call us dorks?
Um, that’s awesome. I totally wanted to start a babysitters club…I asked my parents for my own phone line just for that purpose. They bought me a phone but no individual phone line. My hopes and dreams were crushed.
I ALSO wanted to find awesome places to hide candy and junk food in my room. I think I did once and found in like 6 months later. Oops. Guess I’m not as cool as Janine.
I read SO MANY Babysitter Club books and my mom still has all of them at her house! There were even movies made (I also owned these). I remember the day and moment I discovered the Babysitters Club – I could probably even tell you where I was standing in my Elementary School Library in 3rd grade…the only thing is, the characters never aged, even though I did! 🙂
Lindsay and Joanne, what year were you two born?
Oh, Gabrielle, I can just see you too, standing there in your library! Hearing about your memories just gives me those warm and fuzzies. 🙂
Those little libraries are truly a special place. I know just what you mean, about the characters never seeming to age, yet we do and how they become almost like friends…we look so forward to the next book to see what they’re are up to next.
Lindsay and I were both born in 1984 and If I’m not mistaken, I’m a bit older, so Lindsay is the baby. 🙂
Yep, Joanne, I’m November 1984. The baby!
And Gabe, that’s awesome!! I know, totally funny how they had like five Christmas books…but were still in seventh or eighth grade. Hehe.
Love all of yours!! Oh, my, where to begin… Five Little Peppers and How they Grew, Mandy (by Julie (Andrews) Edwards), Mandie series (by Lois Gladys Leppard), Samantha books (American girl… abd guess what. I now write in her era!), Little House books, later the Sierra Jensen series. I loved the mystery series Lindsay mentioned, too! Have you read “The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree”? Great little picture book (set in Appalachia). What a fun post, Joanne!
I was smitten with Samantha. I’m hoping to get my daughter the doll off ebay in the next year or so. Her stories were so sweet. So neat that you write in that era now! I think those books played a huge role in my love of historical fiction, I can only imagine that the books you read inspired you to pick up pen and paper 🙂
Trying to remember who my favorite was. I think Molly. She was the WWII one, right?
I also liked Addie, but only because her last name was Walker (my maiden name). Hehe. When she had to eat a slug, I thought I’d die.
Yes, Molly was the WWII one- my sister had her. Those were great books, too!
Absolutely! Some of the most influential stories for me were Little House on the Prairie (especially Little House in the Big Woods and Farmer Boy), Anne of Green Gables, Little Women and my all-time favorite, The Betsy-Tacy Series by Maud Hart Lovelace. This last one was especially influential in my life and my writing. What a fun post!!
Hi Gabrielle! I just love learning what your childhood favorites are. I nearly forgot about Betsy Tacy!!! My mom got me the first book and I absolutely loved it. It was one of my favorites. I had no idea it was a series!
Isn’t there just something special about the Little House Books? The Big Woods is my favorite too and I love Farmer Boy (That one was hands down, my dad’s favorite) There are so many wonderful lessons in those books. Being satisfied with what we have, is one that always resonates with me. Those girls had so little, yet were so happy with their little dolls and big trees to play under. I’m so glad you pointed out Anne of Green Gables. That is one that I definitely need to get for my daughter.
Oh my goodness, I knew I was forgetting one!! Anne of Green Gables is like one of my faves of all time…and I LOVE the movies too (except the last one. So random. And false! False, I tell you!!).
You all have awesome taste in books:)
My Mom kept all my Babysitters Club, Little House on the Prairie, American Girl, and Avonlea books. I have been having the best time reading through them again with my daughter. It’s so fun to see her gather the same love from them!
Lisa, I love how some of the same favorites keep popping up. I wish I had read more Avonlea books. I absolutely adore the movies and just never seemed to get my hands on those books. I’m officially inspired!
The Little House books and Little Women were my favorites. They have are a major reason why I write historical fiction set in the 1800s.
Keli, I can definitely see a love for that era reflected in your writing! Little Women brings back such fond memories. There seems to be many stories about women who are writers…I think those are some of the best. 😉
That has to be the children books by EB White. I loved Charlotte’s Web, Trumpeter of the Swan, and Stuart Little. I remember reading them for the first time when I was 7 or 8. I asked for the box set for Christmas that year. I still has them to pass to my little girl. They are what got me started my love for reading.
How wonderful, Amy, to have the books saved to pass along to your little one! Such a sweet treasure for both of you, I’m sure.
I have never read Trumpeter of the Swan…I will have to look for it at the library next time we go. I should get Charlotte’s Web, also. My children have never seen that one and I bet they would really enjoy it.
Okay, I think everyone has said all my faves–Anne of Green Gables, Little House, etc etc…
Did anyone else skip like the first chapter of every Babysitters book? I swear, the first chapter was the same in every book, reviewing each character…hahaha!
Haha, Melissa! You never cease to make me laugh. 🙂 (In a good way! lol)
I didn’t do that, but now I’m curious that I just might have to peek the next time I’m at the Library.
I enjoyed the Little House Series, American Girl, Nancy Drew, Dear America.
Welcome Carissa! It sounds like we have some popular favorites around here! I have never read Dear America. The title is intriguing and it will have to be one that I check out! Thanks so much for visiting!
Yes, all the Little House books! And anything by Enid Blyton. And a book I read every year when I was little, Mary Jones and her Bible! Oh, how I loved that book 🙂
PS – I LOVED your book!! About to write a review 🙂
Dorothy, there is truly something special about the Little House books, isn’t there? So interesting to hear that the nostalgia carries even to Australia!! I have never heard of Mary Jones and her Bible…another I will be looking up 🙂
I am so glad that you enjoyed Lonnie and Gideon’s story!! I have been thinking of you and how you’ve been reading it, so that is so wonderful to hear! I’m looking forward to seeing your review.