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  • Writer's pictureGinny Seegmiller

Staff Picks: The Books We Grew Up With

Is there a particular book that moved you as a child that maybe your child has never heard of? I started thinking about this a few days ago and realized that we’ve all grown up in different environments when society and the world moved differently than it does now.

Maniac Magee

Two books that I distinctly remember having a profound impact on me were Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli and The Fairy Rebel by Lynne Reid Banks. Maniac Magee is about a runaway child, who, throughout the book, is taken in by different families. It addresses themes of racism and inequality as he tries to embrace which home is best for him. I love that the book's message is to treat everyone with kindness and acceptance, no matter what their circumstance. In The Fairy Rebel, a woman is struggling to conceive a child and befriends a fairy in her garden named Tiki, who uses magic to help the woman have a child. This is against the fairy rules, triggering an uprising with the Fairy Queen. This book taught me to show compassion, to stand up for what you believe in, and to help others even if it’s not popular or against someone else’s desires.

I decided to inquire with my colleagues about what moved and inspired them as a child and wanted to share some of the responses I received.

The Little Prince

Michael: “Has anyone suggested The Little Prince? That is one of my favorites. The Little Prince is a 1943 fantasy novella originally published in French by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The book follows the titular character the Little Prince, as he visits various planets and their inhabitants before encountering the narrator on Earth. The book explores themes of loneliness, friendship, love, and loss. Central to the book are explorations of imagination, childhood, and human nature."

Guardians of Ga'Hoole

Virgil: “Two of my favorite book series growing up were the Silverwing series by Kenneth Oppel and Guardians of Ga'Hoole by Kathryn Lasky. I loved both of these series for the same reason: they made me feel like I could get through anything and reminded me that I am never alone. As the main characters faced challenge and conflict, they showed their resiliency and bravery, helping me to feel strong and courageous in my own life. They are both great reads for lovers of nocturnal animals, those who seek out action and adventure, and anyone who needs a reminder that no matter what they are facing, they can get through to the other side."

Todd: "I really loved anything by Gary Paulsen: The Hatchet Series specifically."

Mama's Day Suprise

Lea: "For me, it was The Berenstain Bears series. I particularly remember one of the books, which was about Mother's Day, and how tired and worn out the Mother Bear was. The cubs and the dad pitched in to try to make her Mother's Day special, and I remember how it really changed my perspective on what it means to be a mom and the sacrifices we make for our children, and how that I shaped me into the mom I am today as well."

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place

Sharon: "For me, the book that stood out was The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place. The series of books is very silly and lighthearted and takes place in a Victorian time setting. The main character, Penelope, becomes a governess for a set of three children, who have literally been raised by wolves, and she tries to teach them Shakespeare, and other classic literature. It is a very laugh out loud book that tries to have culture reason with legit wolf raised kids... which seems ridiculous. My 9-year-old granddaughter also loves this book as much as I do." 

The Aristocats

Darla: "The Aristocats. Because I have always loved kitties, and I had always loved cats, and had barn cats growing up, and sometimes we had double digits on how many cats we would have at a time, and this book reminds me of the happiest times I had as a child."

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