Book Bingo: From your childhood

Harriet the SpyJoin The Seattle Public Library and Seattle Arts & Lectures for our second annual Summer Book Bingo for adults! Follow us throughout the summer for reading suggestions based on each category. Today, suggestions for your “Read a book from your childhood” square:

We all have fond memories of books from our childhoods, but just how well do they hold up? Will you love Harriet the Spy as much now as you did in fourth grade? (The answer to that one is: Yes, you will.) If you’re an aunt, will your niece love Harry the Dirty Dog as much as you did? (Yes, again.) But those are two exemplary choices, and two that happen to be my favorites. I’m not sure that I would necessarily enjoy reading all the Marguerite Henry horse books again, nor would I be super excited to re-read the Goosebumps equivalent of my era.

harry the dirty dog
Sure, this counts for Book Bingo NW “from your childhood.” But it will take only a few minutes to read. You may want to choose something longer. Not that we’re checking.

How to choose what to read for this category? You can either go with one of your true favorites (that’s what I did; more about that later) or you can consult book lists to jog your memory and lead you to something that you might actually enjoy re-reading. You can also ask a librarian for ideas; last year Kimberly put together this excellent Shelf Talk post: A Book from Your Childhood. Other lists to try:

For a bigger challenge, choose a book that you truly loved. Not the one that all your friends were reading or that a teacher thought you should read, nor the one you put on your bingo card last year to show how smart you were. I stepped up to this challenge and I’m here to boast about it.

meg roper In addition to Harriet the Spy and Misty of Chincoteague, my fourth-grade self was obsessed with this book, Meg Roper, by Jean Plaidy. Obsessed, I tell you. It’s the story of Sir Thomas More’s daughter, and all that I remember  from it is that Meg rowed on the river to take her father’s bodiless head down from a pole on the London Bridge. That one vivid scene is why, all these years later, I wanted to track down this book. What a relief when I found it on eBay; what an annoyance when someone started bidding against me. Why in the world would anyone else want this book? Well, someone did, and our competitiveness drove the price up until the final seconds. I lost.

But that person who won? Turns out my worthy auction opponent was my sister, who was determined to buy it for me, maybe so I’d stop talking about Thomas More’s head wrapped in his daughter’s from your childhoodshawl.

I just re-read Meg Roper for summer Book Bingo. Did it hold up to my expectations? No, not at all. I don’t think it would be published today. But there’s a big payoff, right there on page 181, when “Meg wrapped that beloved head in the shawl.”

It turns out that this is still my kind of story.

— posted by Linda J. 

4 thoughts on “Book Bingo: From your childhood”

    1. I really was troubled by that book when I first read it at 11 or so. I sort of couldn’t believe how awful the adults were and how close to death he got being hurt and the grossout scene of the pilot. I didn’t really connect w Hatchet, @ 1st but the main character, very much and was happy when he started to do better @ last. Definitely not Jean Craighead Georges MY Side of the Mountain which I loved & just rebought! I think in some ways tho, I think back to it often, bc it seems like sort of an adolescent introduction to existentialism, and helped me to read Camus L’etranger in college, hate it @ 1st 2 but also be very influenced by it in my life, and to help me to deal more realistically w life. Best wishes

  1. Hi, I have a suggestion for this blog for next year’s Bingo. This year I’m doing Bingo with my son, who just finished 6th grade. The kids’ summer reading challenge has been unchallenging for him for at least a couple years, so this year I got him a Bingo card and suggested we do it together. He’s now on track to get a blackout (I’m not even attempting that) and I’m super proud of him! Most of the squares work just fine. But a few have been hard to find age appropriate titles for:
    – Translated from another language (he chose The Little Prince, which was the only idea I could come up with)
    – Written more than 100 years ago (anything old-timey is a really hard sell for him, but he likes weird, so I think I sold him on Alice in Wonderland)
    – Cookbook or food memoir (he chose the Nerdy Nummies Cookbook, but really I don’t think there are any YA food memoirs?)
    – Memoir (he loves sci fi and fantasy and eschews realistic anything, so this would’ve been a very hard sell, except that he found Hyperbole and a Half)
    – Written by a SAL Speaker (he read Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which was my only idea for this category)

    Anyway, we found something for every square but the point of this story is that there must be a lot of YA readers who are (or should be) doing the Bingo and it would be fun and helpful if there were a series of Bingo blog posts just for them. An idea for next year!

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