What was your favorite childhood book? The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White (I could list a thousand others, like every Beverly Cleary book ever!)
Who read it to you? My mother
Why did you love it? Definitely because my mom read it to me (several times, as I recall). She taught me to read before I started school and let me alternate chapters with her. I loved reading aloud but my fonder memories are of snuggling into bed with her and sleepily tracking the words she read down the page until it was time for me to turn to the next one.
What triggers the memory today? Reading with my own kids- it was the reason I insisted on a king-sized bed when we bought our house. I wanted all three snuggled in for bedtime stories! Now that they’re getting older, we’re moving on to audiobooks in the car as our shared reading experiences, but I hope when they’re grown they have the same memories of being safe and treasured that I do.
Jen Malone writes books for tweens and teens. Her debut At Your Service
published in August with Simon & Schuster. She has four more novels forthcoming, including the co-written series RSVP with Gail Nall. Jen lives outside Boston with her husband and three children and loves school visits and cute hedgehogs pictures. To learn more about her and her books, visit www.jenmalonewrites.com
At Your Service
(Simon & Schuster/Aladdin MIX, August 2014)
My favorite childhood book, in fact the first book I remember my mom reading to me was A. A. Milne’s When We Were Very Young. I think I fell in love with the cadence of the words, “They’re changing guard at Buckingham Palace. Christopher Robin went down with Alice” and “I met a man as I went walking. We got to talking, man and I.” These poems still sound musical and magical to me. I think those poems shaped me as a reader (and, if I’m lucky, as a writer) because I love beautiful language as much as I love a good story. They probably also fostered my love of all things BBC. And I still have the copy my mom read to me.
Helene Dunbar usually writes features about fiddles and accordions for Irish Music Magazine, but she’s also been known to write about court cases, theater, and Native American Indian tribes. She’s lived in two countries, six states, and is currently holed up in Nashville with her husband, daughter, two cats, and the world’s friendliest golden retriever.
You can find her debut novel, These Gentle Wounds (May 8, 2014 – Flux Books), here:
Barnes and Noble
Her next book, What Remains, will release in 2015 by Flux.
My favorite book as a girl was Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. Mrs. Clarke, my fifth grade teacher, read it aloud to us. I still have that classroom copy! (I think I ‘forgot” to return it after borrowing it for the summer. And then I moved. Sorry, Mrs. C.!)
The language of the book was so different than most books of the day. (I remember thinking “fink!” was a horrible swearword.) I was enthralled by Harriet’s bravery and spy skills. I related to her because she hated math as much as I did. But most of all I loved her mentor, Ole Golly, who said things like, “You’re an individual, and that makes people nervous. And it’s gonna keep making people nervous for the rest of your life.” I was a VERY unique child who lived in a fantasy world and loved to write. These thoughts really spoke to my soul. And I can’t forget the illustrations; I loved the artwork. It still inspires me to illustrate my own stories some day.
I often think of Harriet when I’m journaling or drawing. (I’m still paranoid about putting any personal info about anyone on paper. What if they find it?!) I have a very snarky streak, and sometimes when I’m tempted to give in to it, I remember Harriet’s comeuppance. As I tell my kids, just because you think of a witty insult doesn’t mean you should SAY it. Or write it down. Or text it!
Long live Harriet!
Louise Galveston is the author of BY THE GRACE OF TODD (Penguin/Razorbill Feb. 27, 2014). She and her husband live in the Midwest with their eleven kids and a parrot. When Louise isn’t writing or folding laundry, she directs her local children’s theater, where she’s playwright in residence.
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Buy BY THE GRACE OF TODD at your favorite Indie Bookseller, Barnes & Noble or Amazon
Join @[247151165343747:274:Lauren Oliver], @[60020139122:274:Dan Gutman], Rita Williams-Garcia and more by thanking YOUR mom for instilling a love of reading at an early age!
I’m so grateful for a mom who made books & reading a part of everyday life. Thanks, Mom!
JM Ledwell (@MiyakosWorld): I have loved Raggedy Ann since I could talk and walk, how awesome that I could take my beloved friend of the storybook world read to me by my Nanny, around with me everywhere? I had the dolls-like 18! She’s still my favorite story. I love the drawings by Johnny Gruelle.