Hook, Line, and Sinker—What Hooked You?

Posted by on Nov 9, 2015 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts | 4 comments

Hook, Line, and Sinker—What Hooked You?

 

My publisher recently posted this meme on Facebook and it started me thinking. What was the first series of books that got me interested in reading? Was it a series? Or, was it an individual book?

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My husband said he felt it was the Hardy Boy’s Mysteries for him. I guess if I had to pick a series it would be Trixie Belden Mysteries, but that was long after I started reading.

The truth is, I don’t remember not reading. Books are such a huge part of my life. But, there are some books that make me draw in a breath when I find them.

The other day we were in a bookstore in Columbia, South Carolina. The book that jumped into my hands and wouldn’t let me put it down was The All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor. It was paperback and had a great colored picture on the cover, but the way I remember it is as a hardback maroon book with a pebbly feel to the cover. I think there might have been the outline of some girls on the front.

The title took me right back to my childhood. This was one of my favorite books, and the truth was there were two more in the series. So, maybe it was this series that piqued my interest.

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I bought it and I read it again the other night. I didn’t remember much of the story. It is set in New York and the family is Jewish. There are many traditions different from mine. The time period is the early 1900’s, and as I read it I realized that these girls were from Grandma Jones’ era. A connection.

 

My shelves are like walking down memory lane. Whenever I find books from my childhood I buy them. The Little House On the Prairie were favorites. I loved and still love The Trolley Car Family, Charlotte’s Web, and The Trumpet of the Swan. I read anything I could by Lois Lenski. She had an entire series of books about different children living in different parts of the country. It was social studies in a series.

 

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was possibly my favorite book as a child. However, I read it from the Reader’s Digest Condensed books for children that we received as gifts from our grandparents, and I’m telling you that the unabridged book has parts that were NOT in the book I knew and loved. I loved the main character, Francie. Even today, when I want to relax I get some candy or some crackers, a little treat. I put them in a special dish and get an ice-cold drink. I go out to my porch—the closest thing I have to a fire escape—and I read. I read and I watch the neighbors. Just like Francie Nolan.

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It struck me the other day, both All of A Kind Family and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn take place in New York City in the same year. I’ve never been there. I don’t really have any desire to go. But, somehow that immigrant time period in New York intrigued me as a child, and it still does. A few years ago I came across the children’s book The Pushcart Wars, and I couldn’t put it down. It too was set in New York City.

These were real people, living real lives, in a very different place from me. Through the books I read I could catch a glimpse of what it must have been like to live there during that time. Even today, those are the stories I want to read. Stories about real people, or people who could have been real. I want to feel like I could live in that story, in that time, in that place. The amazing thing is that as a child I didn’t realize I was learning history. My backstory. I was just reading stories.

But I was. Learning history, that is.

Shhh! It’s a trick worth playing on kids!

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Share in the comments what hooked you on reading!

4 Comments

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  1. Drusilla Dye

    When in junior high and high school, we lived out in the country without a television. I started buying books with my small allowance. I remember reading a lot of books by Bernard Palmer such as the Danny Orlis series, Felicia Cartwright series and then My Son, My Son and Wind Blows Wild. I also read the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley.

  2. Judy Taylor

    Miriam,

    I love the Charlotte’s Web video. I’ve never read the book. Plan to do that in a couple of weeks.

    • admin

      The movie is accurate. My nieces and nephews watched that over and over when they were little. Such a great movie. The new one is good too.