Thursday, November 16, 2006

Kate's Early Reading Meme

Kate has created a meme on early reading. Here are my responses:

1. How old were you when you learned to read and who taught you?

I was five, I think. My mother taught me using Dr. Seuss books. Green Eggs and Ham was the first that I managed on my own. I can remember feeling a real sense of accomplishment in mastering those tricky words would, should and could.

2. Did you own any books as a child? If so, what’s the first one that you remember owning? If not, do you recall any of the first titles that you borrowed from the library?

I don't remember the first, just that I was kept well supplied. A Little Golden Book of some sort or another may well have been the first. My mother was always willing to buy books for me, via through-the-mail book clubs or from the dime or grocery stores, and my first trips to the library took place while I was still a pre-schooler; it was a small one-room basement dwelling off Main Street at that time. I can remember checking out a hardcover copy of Clare Turlay Newberry's Marshmallow. We owned a set of The Book of Knowledge and it would have been my first exposure to any type of classic literature. I particularly loved the poetry contained within, especially "Little Orphan Annie": "and the goblins will get you, if you don't watch out!"

My elementary school library was a wonderful place and I probably spent almost as much time there as I did in the classroom since my teachers liked to get me out of their hair once I'd completed my work. All the Laura Ingalls Wilder books and many of the Marguerite Henrys came from the elementary school library.

3. What’s the first book that you bought with your own money?

Probably Gone With the Wind, which I bought in Chapel Hill on the 8th grade trip to Raleigh/Chapel Hill, although it may very well have been a book on horses from a tack shop a year or so earlier.

4. Were you a re-reader as a child? If so, which book did you re-read most often?

I re-read horse books (the largest portion of my reading consisted of horse books), Lewis Carroll, and Old Yeller. I read the E.C. Spykman quartet and Harriet the Spy to the point of internalization.

5. What’s the first adult book that captured your interest and how old were you when you read it?

It may have been Gone With the Wind. I read it straight through over the course of a single weekend, starting on the bus back from Raleigh. Or it may have been some genre fare passed on my uncles or aunts: I read a lot of their Alistair MacLeans, Zane Greys, Emilie Lorings and Grace Livingston Hills at about the same time.

6. Are there children’s books that you passed by as a child that you have learned to love as an adult? Which ones?

The Wind in the Willows. I always thought it looked boring, and never attempted to read it until I had kids of my own.


  1. I loved Little Golden Books when I was a kid. My sister did too and between to two of us they got read to tatters.

  2. I'm with you on Wind in the Willows...

  3. The Little Golden Books! My mom bought us a shelf of these.

    As a child I read one particular Helen Keller biography so many times my mother and the librarian agreed I could only take it out once yearly.

    I adored Laura Ingalls Wilder (still do) and can recite passages of her books from memory.

    Re Gone with the Wind...I have an edition from the thirties that belonged to a cousin. it's so fragile I am afraid to open it, and borrowed a library copy in high school. Like you, I devoured it in a couple days.


  4. BK, have you read any Jill McCorkle? The main character in Ferris Beach has such a fixation on Helen Keller in elementary school that she has a run-in with the librarian over checking out her bio. It must be a generational thing because neither of my kids found her near as fascinating as I did--though my interest came primarily from the Patty Duke movie.


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