Thursday, August 09, 2018

BPL's Favorite Childhood Books

Today is National Book Lovers Day—an unofficial holiday that encourages people to pick up a book (or two) and spend the day reading—and to celebrate the Birmingham Public Library staff would like to tell you about their favorite childhood books...

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
I loved it because it gave me a window into another world in two ways. First, it is set in the 19th century, when it was written. I felt transported to another time. It's also an autobiography from the point of view of a non-human animal. It opened my eyes to all of the joys and hardships that other creatures may feel that were both familiar and alien to me as a reader. It was the first book I read that evoked the darkness of the world as well as the wonder; it broke my heart. It made me think more deeply about the experiences of animals and people. I still adore it. Mollie McFarland, Springville Road Regional Branch Library

The Black Stallion by Walter Farley
I loved the adventure story of Alex and the Black, from the shipwreck to the rescue to the race track! I re-read this series many times and shared it with my sister. We dreamed of one day owning a racing stable and running in the Kentucky Derby! Lynn Piper Carpenter, Five Points West Regional Branch Library

One of my all-time favorites was Cinderella. What I got out of the story was that anything is possible. Although Cinderalla seemed least likely to win the Prince's heart, she did. Diana Prince, Administration, Central Library

The Flight of the Doves by Walter Macken
An orphaned 12-year-old boy, Finn, and his 7-year-old sister, Derval, flee from a violent stepfather in England to their Granny in Ireland. What appealed to me so much was Finn's resourcefulness and his love for his sister (he's been beaten ever since their mother's death, but he decides to run when he's afraid of the same for his sister). The journey is perilous, with newspaper coverage and a bounty on their heads (once the stepfather realizes Finn is about to inherit some money), and talks about people in England and Ireland. Finn manages to outsmart the adults and take care of Derval through the entire journey. I loved it and re-read it over and over. Kelly Laney, Springville Road Regional Branch Library

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
My favorite book was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. This book is special to me because of the personalities and relationship between the four siblings. My favorite characters were Edmund and Lucy, because they represented love, faith, courage, forgiveness, and redemption. I wanted to stumble my way into a new world like they did and eventually wanted to create new worlds too, so that others would be inspired just like I was by this book. Caitlin Jackson, Youth Department, Central Library

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
My favorite book was Little Women and the others in the series by Louisa Mae Alcott. The story had strong women long before women's lib. They had purpose and survived in trying circumstances. Barbara Steward, East Lake Branch Library

Logan's Run by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson
My favorite book from childhood is Logan’s Run by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson. Published in 1967, the novel depicts a dystopic future society in which both population and the consumption of resources are maintained in equilibrium by a law requiring the death of everyone when the day they reach 21 years of age. The story follows the actions of Logan, a “Sandman” charged with enforcing the age law, as he tracks down and kills citizens who "run" from society's lethal demand—only to end up "running" himself. I first read it at the age 11 shortly after the movie version by director by Michael Anderson was released. This book is special to me because it was my first sci-fi novel and, many years later, my brother married Michael Anderson’s granddaughter, whose father, Michael Jr., starred in the film and is now a friend of mine. Barry Crane, Springville Road Regional Branch Library
Miss Suzy by Miriam Young
My favorite childhood book was Miss Suzy by Miriam Young. It was my favorite because it is the first book I can recall being read as a child and the first book I was eventually able to read by myself. I’m not sure where my mom got the book, but it’s been a part of my personal library ever since.
Shawn Caddell, Eastwood Branch Library

Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary
Was there a better part of the elementary school day than when your Scholastic book order arrived? I think not. One of the first books I ever marked to order was Ramona the Pest. Here was an anxious, unkempt new kindergartner with a funny name, misunderstood by her family, teachers, and classmates. Boy, did I ever relate! Her reputation as a pest precedes her (Beezus and Ramona, 1st book in the series), but why won't they understand that a girl on her first day of school who pulls a girl's bouncy curls to hear it go boing! or who won't move from her chair because she was told to sit there "for the present" and who loudly sings about the "dawnzer lee light" is not being a pest but being her own unique self? Tressa Fancher, Public Relations Department, Central Library

So Small by Ann Rand
I don't know about "favorite" book since I loved so many as a child, but one that still resonates with me and my brother is So Small by Ann Rand. The smallest of a litter of six mice tries to make up for his tiny size by taking as his motto: "It's better to be brave than never misbehave!" My brother and I quote that line to this very day. It was often the despair of my mother! Mary Anne Ellis, Southern History Department, Central Library

Three Little Chinese Girls by Eleanor Frances Lattimore 
It was probably the first book I ever read about children in another country; and to this day, I still remember the characters names (Jade, Pearl & Jasmine) and scenes from the book. I wish I had a copy—but it was published in 1948! Cheryl Newsome, Arts, Literature and Sports, Central Library

Trixie Belden series
My favorite childhood book was actually a series of mystery books about Trixie Belden. My sister always wanted me to read Nancy Drew mysteries, but I could never really relate to Nancy because she was so prissy and perfect; rich, pretty, perfect friends and boyfriend, she always made me feel like I wasn't up to par. But Trixie was the tomboy daughter of a middle-class family with four kids, so money was always tight; and she was cute, but not particularly pretty. She liked being outside, riding horses, and solving problems in her life and her community. She almost always ended up getting into some kind of trouble, but her brothers and her friends were always there to help her out and keep her safe. She was the kind of heroine I could relate to, I loved every single one of those books, and I still do! Jennifer Hancock, Youth Department, Central Library

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