Join 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.
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:
- New York Public Library’s 100 Great Children’s Books
- Newbery Medal and Honor Books (1922-present)
- Buzzfeed’s 67 Children’s Books That Actually Changed Your Life
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.
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 shawl.
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.