When I was a young girl, the local library was one of my favorite places in which to spend the afternoon hours. It was before the internet, even before computers made it into our homes. It was where my friends and I would meet to do research for a school project, do our homework, or simply take out new books to read. There was always an excuse to go to the library.
When I think about my childhood, the same memory invariably pops to the surface, the one of when I visited the local library for the first time. The passage of time may have enhanced the visual aspects, but the memory is real, as are the feelings it aroused. I can visualize the exact moment it happened and feel the same wonder and delight at seeing so many books all in one place. A whole new world had opened to me, and I was hooked. Nothing made me happier than bringing home new books to read. Being a new immigrant in an English-speaking country, I struggled at first, but as my understanding of the language improved, I was enthralled by the countless stories I could read.
Like most typical seven-year-old girls, I was initially drawn to fairy tales. Their magical allure pulled me in, transporting me to wondrous places inside my head. But best of all, they all ended in a happily-ever-after. I later discovered classic children’s books, like Little Women and Pollyanna, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. But my favorite of all time is Anne of Green Gables. I read all eight books numerous times through the years. I was fascinated by Anne’s hyperactive imagination and upbeat attitude, and by her ability to make people see the world differently, even the most cynical ones, like the grumpy Marilla. I’m delighted to say that it’s my daughter’s favorite classic as well, and we long ago promised ourselves a trip to Prince Edward Island, which life’s circumstances have caused us to postpone several times.
As I grew into my early teens, my reading preferences extended to more modern adventure books, like The Famous Five and The Secret Seven series, by Enid Blyton. I went through a phase in which I was enamored with everything ballet, and devoured ballet novels faster than they could be written. My favorite were the Drina series by Jean Estoril. I’m pretty sure I read all eleven books in the series. It was around that time that I started to write my own stories. I’m firmly convinced that if Anne of Green Gables built me as a reader, the Drina ballet series made me as a writer.
What kind of books do you remember reading as a child and which are your favorite? Please let me know in the comments.
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