Timeless Children’s Books

Have you thought about the books you read as a child that helped shape the person you are today?

One of my most fond memories is of being in first grade, sitting cross-legged on the floor, listening intently to my teacher read The Lion, the Witch and the WardrobeMy imagination soared as I followed the quest of the Pevensie children to defeat the White Witch and deliver Narnia from eternal winter.  I was right there as Edmund was tempted by Turkish delight (which, in reality, tastes nothing like I’d imagined), ultimately betraying his siblings by helping the White Witch.  I cried when Aslan died.

This story is what made me become a reader;  I couldn’t get enough.  As the years went on I read the series several times and tried to get my own kids to read it.  I suppose they have different tastes but I do highly recommend you read this to your own children.  I think it would be a great bonding experience and will certainly keep their attention.

At age ten I was obsessed with horses, like many young girls are.  I’m not sure how I found it but I imagine I discovered Black Beauty on a trip to the book store with my mom and anything with a horse on the cover caught my attention.  It was a thick book but that only meant longer for me to stay transfixed in a story.  Thankfully, my mom never discouraged me from any book-either for being too long or for troubling content.  I had free reign over books.

The story of Black Beauty and her many owners-from cruel to kind and gentle, stayed with me.  I feel that it helped nurture my love of animals and perhaps gave me a better understanding of how to treat them.  I find teaching children how to be caring towards animals incredibly important as it spills over into all aspects of life.  Black Beauty is certainly a character building story.

My love for horses found me yet another treasure in Can I Get There By Candlelight? My mom was a teacher at the elementary school I attended from Kindergarten through fourth grade and so I went to her classroom each day after school.  She had a fairly good-sized library of books and I found this story one afternoon.  I was hooked-time travel, horses, English gardens…everything I loved all wrapped up in one book!  I’m sure I devoured it in a few days.  If I can still recall elements of this story after 32 years, that should tell you something.  I suppose it hit me at just the right time and place I needed it, I just wish I could have gotten my daughter interested to read it.  We didn’t have tablets and Snapchat back then to interfere…

Here are a few more books I’d recommend to any parent to help grow their child’s love of reading:

  • Bunniculano child can resist the tale of a vampire bunny!
  • The Mouse and the Motorcyclean amusing story about a mouse who, well, rides a motorcycle.  My teacher read the first book to me and I read the rest of the series myself.  That’s how you build a reader.
  • Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing-I could certainly relate to having a pesky younger brother and so this was another book I loved.  It’s the first in Beverley Cleary’s ‘Fudge’ series and very enjoyable.
  • How to Eat Fried Worms-there are so many ways to make worms into a meal if you’re trying to win a challenge.
  • Where the Red Fern Growsa story of perseverance and a child’s bond with his dogs.  Boy did I cry reading this one.

I suppose some of these books may be on a list of banned books but all I can say is that they’re treasures and I will always suggest them as an important childhood read.  Speaking from my experience, I believe they helped mold me into a kinder hearted person.

Do not disturb

“Mommy, why do you have a garden flag that says ‘Welcome’ when you don’t actually mean it?”

I had to think about that for a minute.

“I’ve had it in the closet for a couple of years and figured I should use it at least once.  And besides, I’m pretty sure the neighbors think I’m cranky.”

If I were to make a list,  things that don’t make me cranky would be much shorter,  but I’m trying to work on that.

Being in my 40’s makes me exceedingly cranky.

Discovering an empty wine bottle when it’s much too late to go buy another.

Opening the front door on a lovely rainy morning only to have it ruined by my neighbor blaring  Banda music.

Finding a dog poop stuck to the rug.

Slow internet connections that cause pixelated movies.

Being excited to read a new book only to realize I’ve read the same sentence 29 times.

People knocking on my front door.

Yes, the Welcome garden flag is probably not the best choice for me but I was in a particularly good mood when I bought it and had decided I would try to become more friendly.  I’d have people over, we’d sit and chat.  But no, the dog hair and poop prevent that from happening and I remember why I’m cranky again.

“Mommy, this flag is better for you.”

Cranky

A little pep talk

I feel like the writer who doesn’t actually write.  Throughout the day I find myself saying Ha! I really should write about that, but then it’s time to get ready for ballet, pick up something for dinner, or clean up the dog poop pile by the front door.  I get interrupted and these interruptions translate into months of not writing at all.

Growing up, I had certain ideas of what I’d like to be doing by this stage of my life-some were a little crazier than others;  being a spy for the CIA, for example.  But one has remained constant, and that is to be living the life of a writer.  Published novels, stacks of papers strewn about, cups of half-finished coffee sitting next to my laptop…I picture myself in the future living by the beach known as “that eccentric old lady with the mismatched socks and crazy hairdo.”  I suppose we all have dreams, right?  And some of us, more than others, let the doubt creep in and take over to the point that we don’t actually write due to fear of rejection.  I’ve been doing that for years.

My kids are growing up-my oldest will be 22 this year, the youngest will be 12.  I feel like time has eaten most of my good parts and left me to wonder what could have been if I had only put in the effort and braved through all the self-doubt.  It would have been good for my kids to see that…but, playing the ‘what if’ game does no one any favors.

I turned 42 a week ago and didn’t enjoy it one bit.  The day itself was alright-I enjoyed a pedicure, picked up some makeup that needed replacing…but mentally, it was tough.  I’m not where I want to be and only I can change that.  My husband is always gone due to work obligations and for that I feel tremendous guilt.  He’s missing out on the kids’ day to day antics and me-he’s missing out on me.  I worry about his health and peace of mind.  I think about the bike rides we could be enjoying together and trips we should be taking as a family. But his sacrifices keep the lights on, the kids in ballet and guitar lessons, and me in my cute little black car.

So what do I do to invoke the changes I desire?  I really don’t know.  I feel like my 18-year-old Navy son has grown smarter than I in that he has already set upon his own path.  He knows what he wants and is working to accomplish his goals while I let life pass me by.  It’s certainly a hit to the ‘ol ego, I’ll tell you.

Maybe all is not lost.  I guess this is me giving myself a pep talk.  I would really love to have those old lady mismatched sock days and there’s nothing written in stone saying I can’t, right? It would be even better to have my little old man wearing his pulled up too high pants beside me.  What a picture we’d be.

Write. Write. Write. Right?