Childhood favourites (Was Oh the horror!)

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at
Sun Feb 9 20:35:11 EST 2003

I haven't been able to chime in on this thread because I have no childhood
favorites.  I was reading at a young age, but somehow individual books
didn't make an impression on me.  So it's taken some thinking to come up
with the books I loved when I was young:

(in no particular order)

1. Nancy Drew.  I remember this very well.  We lived within walking distance
of the library, which was an old, narrow building with a green door and not
a lot of interior light.  I read all the Nancy Drews I could get my hands
on.  The building still exists, but is no longer a library; about fifteen
years ago they built a new building, and then, to my perpetual joy, they
rebuilt the old Brigham Young Academy and housed the library there.

2. Narnia.  My grandparents, the Presbyterian minister and his wife,
supplied me with my first introduction to role-playing games (boxed set of
Basic D&D rules) as well as my introduction to fantasy literature, in the
form of the Narnia books.  I had read the books separately in a random order
(starting with _Prince Caspian_ and finishing up with _Dawn Treader_) and
then they gave me a beautiful two-volume hardbound set with all those lovely
Pauline Baynes illustrations.  The picture of Diggory and Polly sleeping
while the Witch breezes past them in the night gave me chills.

3. Carolyn Heywood.  My mother had read many books when she was young, and
those were the only ones she knew to give me.  The Betsy books were so sweet
and so loving, they left a very deep impression on me; they also bred in me
the desire to read about the past, because these were outdated when I read
them, and Betsy's school life was so much different from mine.

4.  Biographies.  This isn't a great entry because I can't remember the
series I read, but after I finished with Nancy Drew I moved on to this very
long series of biographies for children.  I was most interested in the
biographies of famous women; and much later, reading about how girl children
are so lacking in good female role models, all I could think was that they
clearly didn't know where to look.  I'm torn between wishing I could read
these and not wanting my illusions shattered.

5. The Lord of the Rings.  Believe it or not, I read these in second grade.
At least, I'm told I did.  My best friend Liza and I had a rivalry with some
other girl in our class and decided that *we* would be the best readers by
not stooping to books with pictures.  At any rate, the trilogy is so deeply
embedded in my mind that it might well have been second grade; I had
certainly read them before I owned my first set of the books, when I was

It wasn't until I turned 12 that I suddenly realized that there were so many
wonderful books in the world.  I was taking my first lit crit course for
children's lit and after that point I thought of myself as a reader on a par
with other adults.  I'm sure that level of arrogance surprises no one.  ;)

Melissa Proffitt

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