Books Matter

From 1st through 7th grade we didn’t have a television in the house.
I don’t think I ever complained…maybe because it was all I really knew.
Instead of Full House and Family Matters,
I read books–lots of them.
Every week, my Mom or Grandma would take me
to the bookstore to pick out a new book.
I remember attempting to take my time to read them,
savoring every single page until my next trip to the book shop.
However, I couldn’t resist sneaking pages under the covers with a flash light way past my bedtime.  Ultimately, the book was finished the first day I brought it home.
Soon, my Mom found a local used book shop
and gave me NO limit on the number of books I threw in our basket,
so long as I finished them before our next visit.
I wasn’t the smartest kid in the bunch,
didn’t get an impressive score on my SAT
and I certainly didn’t get a full ride to Harvard.
But I did alright.
And, looking back,
I attribute “doing alright” to those 7 years
of really good books.

What am I forgetting?
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  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 5:56 am

    Bridge to terebethia? Or was that too new?

  • Reply
    Kara @ Mine for the Making
    May 23, 2011 at 6:06 am

    Agree with Trisha…Bridge to Terabithia for sure! I also loved Island of the Blue Dolphins πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 6:06 am

    I was totally into the Goosebumps books. I had forgotten about some of those (like Bunnicula and The Boxcar Children!) Good books!

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 6:08 am

    I read all those books growing up and loved them! I think getting lost in a book has always been just about my favorite thing in the world to do. Ps.
    I still stay up way too late reading. I'm sort of a manic reader like that. If a book is good, I can't help myself.

  • Reply
    Jayna Rae
    May 23, 2011 at 6:09 am

    Good post. Books are such a huge part of my life. I was just going through some today and put my Babysitter's Club books in the donate pile. I don't think that my boys will want them.

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 6:41 am

    We went to the library at least once a week when I was growing up. Like you, I could never seem to put my books down and make them last longer than a day or so. I'm still that way, unfortunately (which makes for some very long nights if I decide to start another book). Reading brought such joy to my life and even led me to win Reading Competitions, start writing at an early age and (I believe) made me the adventurous spirit that I am today.

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 6:44 am

    Oh man…I'm such a reader, too! We did have TV growing up…but I always preferred reading. I LOVED the Baby-Sitters Club and Nancy Drew and many of the others you have here. Oh, these bring me back!

  • Reply
    Gillian Mohlman
    May 23, 2011 at 6:52 am

    i basically read every single book you put on there too! i love to read. it was my goal to read 50 books this year, and i have already done that! now i am hoping to get in 100. i like romance books, and LOVE the author robin gunn. she is a Christian writer. you should look her up. also, the alliance by gerald lund is amazing. and, after the giver, there are two books that kind of tie the giver all together! they are called gathering blue and true messanger. (by the same author of the giver.) have you read the hunger games? also so amazing… books… i love them all!

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Some of my favorite books! Loved the boxcar children, mrs piggle wiggle, the borrowers. There were some you could pick your own adventure. It was like, having multiple books in one.

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Baby Sitter's Club!! I so wanted to start my own but I was too busy reading the whole series to ever do it…I did make my own kid kits though.
    I also LOVED Summer Sisters; in fact, I still read that probably once a year.

  • Reply
    Casey Martinez
    May 23, 2011 at 11:34 am

    we didn't have tv either and we read a ton as well…all the books you listed are the same books I grew up reading though I did also love Mandy series. Oh the memories!

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Oh I looove Babysitter's Club, Boxcar Children and Nancy Drew books growing up! Pretty sure I still have my collection of books in my parents' house back home. I also loved reading anything by Lurlene McDaniels (books about kids dealing with cancer) and older books like "Gone with the Wind".

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    My parents were careful to limit our tv watching (I do remember loving the TGIF lineup – anyone else watch that?) when I was a kid. I loved to read! Much of the list above is on my favorites list too. Now that my son is reading we're making new favorites. He and I read the Magic Treehouse and Magic Schoolbus books together daily. He loves them! Oh, and Fancy Nancy is pretty awesome too. πŸ˜‰

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    I have already bought another copy of Where the Red Fern Grows. I can't wait until my kids are old enough to read it with me. I picture us curled up before bed, all three of us reading "just 1 more chapter". Most of the books on your list are the ones I grew up reading, great trip down memory lane!

  • Reply
    Mrs. G.I. Joe
    May 23, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    I {and now my 2 yr old Lucy} LOVE Amelia Bedelia! And The Giver. That's an all time fave because I so wish my husband could pass his war memories to me that way so he doesn't have to have them.

    Books make such a lasting impressing. More so that TV or even movies can. Our dependence on TV has gotten way too high lately but this is a great reminder!

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    HELLO???!!! How could you forget "are you there god? It's me margaret!" HAHA… that one was my all time fave… and the boxcar children- Classic!!! I love this post!

  • Reply
    [email protected] Present Life
    May 23, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    What a wonderful gift your family gave you! And you will no doubt pass that love of books on to your little man! I just read Amelia Bedilia to my kids last night πŸ˜‰ One of my favs as a little girl.

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    I always read and will always suggest Number The Stars…to students and friends kids. When they are an appropriate age of course..but I absolutely lovee that book!!!

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    We had a tv, but I would still read so many books over the course of a weekend! I loved to read! Out of my entire school in the 6th grade, I got an award for reading the most books. (I didn't even know they were counting.) Dork, much? That's ok – I'm proud of that little mousy girl with the big, Jiminy Cricket glasses for doing what she loved! It continues to this day! And thankfully, my toddler loves to read, too!

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Awesome post!! I totally believe in reading over television, and was raised the same way. I don't understand now how most kids sit in front of the television all day. My daughter watches her fair amount of t.v., but I've also been reading to her everyday since she was born!

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    You had me at baby sitters club! Oh my, how I loved that series. And Roald Dahl…
    Oh to be young again πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    The Running Mama
    May 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Indian in the Cupboard, Number the Stars, Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Pearl

    I devoured The Babysitters Club. I still have all of them. Have you read the Hunger Games series yet??

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Oh goodness- I've forgotten so many of those! You make me want to go back and re-read them all!!

  • Reply
    Danielle D.
    May 23, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    I loves many of these books as well! I probably still have a few Amelia Bedelia in the basement somewhere. My grandma is the one who encouraged us the most to read. During the summers we would spend our days at her house and if we weren't outside playing, we were reading a book from the book mobile (library on wheels that drove to houses more rural). She had a TV, but we didn't want to watch it. Funny how things change.

    Thanks for bringing back memories!

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Sweet Valley High—did you read any of those? I read a lot of those with the twins—Elizabeth and Jessica. Funny—I ended up having twins. Maybe those books were preparing me somehow?! Ha!

  • Reply
    Pretty in Black and White
    May 23, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Sleepover Friends!!! YAY!!! Babysitters Club reminded me how much I loved those! I still own all of my books from that age and want my kids to read them someday!

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Oh I was just like you!! We didn't have a tv for my entire 4th grade year.
    Are you there God? It's me Margaret by Judy Blume

    The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
    {Awesome book,That reminds me to make my kids read it}

    The Hobit??

    AND I am pretty sure I read just about every one of those Little House on the Praire books.

    And oh how I wish I knew the name of a book that sticks in my memories. It was with awesome pictures and all about homonyms. Like a fork in the road and then the coolest picture with (an eating kind of) fork in the road.
    I thought that was the most clever book.
    If any of your readers know what I am talking about I might just kiss them! πŸ˜‰

  • Reply
    Pretty in Black and White
    May 23, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    I almost forgot- what about CS Lewis the Chronicles of Narnia too? I loved those as well. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Our TV is only used to watch DVDs. My oldest is a voracious reader and goes through an amazing number of books each week. I'm so grateful for the public library!! I would add Heidi, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, and the Chronicles of Narnia.

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    I read all those too! Love Amelia Bedelia and I just bought the Bunnicula master edition with all of the books in the same volume. I'm pretty sure I had all the Babysitter's Club book too.

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    My mom was the same way with the library. She would walk all five of her children down there with a radio flyer and five milk crates. We were allowed to check out as many books as we wanted for the week. I remember coming home with thirty plus books.

    I try to read to my squirmy one year old everyday. Half (most) of the time I'm reading out loud while he runs around the room setting villages on fire and seeing how many things he can stack on the dog. I feel a break through is just around the corner though. πŸ˜‰

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    I used to love so many of these books. A few years ago, I sat down and read all of the Little House on the Prarie books again. I still love them. I hope that one day my children love reading as much as I did because I was one of those that would read after the light was turned off at night too. This is a great list, thanks for sharing it πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Oh my gosh, this sure brought back some memories! Loved having all the time in the world to read back then!

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    we were big used book store buyers too! There were a couple other series books I read – can't remember their names but one was about Pen Pals, one was about a group of girl in gymnastics, and then the Babysitter's Little Sisters club! I too like others loved Island of the Blue Dolphins!
    (Although I did read it, Summer Sisters is a bit more mature than the other books you have on the list. Didn't read it until high school)

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    I was the same way except we utilized the library because we had 7 kids and ZERO extra money! but we loved reading! We did have t.v. though but we were usually outside building tree forts, catching frogs & riding bikes, making trails through the woods….
    My girls are HUGE readers also….they will be reading a few of those books through our homeschooling curriculum next year (SOnlight is based on reading–their website has TONS of books you can go get a list of to read to your kids also, but we are getting the curriculum)….!!!
    love this post!

  • Reply
    Malinda Q
    May 23, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    These are some great books! My favorites were The Babysitters Club! I had all of them!
    @ Aubrey, I think the book you are talking about is called The King Who Rained. You can find it on Amazon.

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Little Miss Mama! Your fabulous reader Malinda Q just emailed me and my wish came true!!! Yes, it was the King who rained! I can not wait to see it again! Thank you for this post!! I owe her a big fat kiss!

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Aww, Amelia Bedelia! Love this post! I agree with the Bridge to Teribithea comments! I watched the movie a few years ago and it was definately a tearjerker!

  • Reply
    Jo Jo
    May 23, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Oh my gosh!!! Boxcar Children was my favorite! Nancy Drew and Little House on the Prairie were GREAT too!

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    OH these all were the BEST books! I also read the Pol Street School books when I was little, still plan on giving them to my kids πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    LOVE IT! This is exactly why I am working so hard right now to become a children's book author and get published. Fingers crossed!

    Hope you got my email about being a sponsor! I certainly would LOVE it!

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    OMG! Actually seeing the babysitters club book made me smile. Wow. I used to read those, the sweet valley high books, vc andrews books, and one of my favorites was the true confessions of charlotte doyle.

    I guess without the internet, our age group read more. I remember actually reading encylopedia's. LOL.

    Ashley Marie Wilson

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    I am the same way! LOVE reading books… my mom worked near our local library so I would stay there when she worked… loved it. I totally agree! I have a TV in the house now, but don't really turn it on. My 5 yo would much rather color, play with toys, then sit and watch tv.

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    American Girls

  • Reply
    May 23, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    I remember these some of these books…Babysitters club and Boxcar children. I am trying to get my girls into reading.

  • Reply
    Dyna Ly
    May 23, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this blog. It really brought back some childhood memories. I hope when my son grows up he will be into reading books as much as I was.

  • Reply
    the little wife
    May 23, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    My favorite was always Little Women

  • Reply
    May 24, 2011 at 12:01 am

    Oh my goodness. You just brought me down memory lane again!! I LOVE all those books! Summer Sisters is my favorite. And The Giver. And I totally forgot about Bunnicula!!! lol!

  • Reply
    brent. britney, and ryan.
    May 24, 2011 at 12:20 am

    funny that you say that you grew up without tv. so did i! and when i tell people, they think im crazy and deprived. even more funny, i'm 23 with my own little family and i still don't have tv!!

    i used to love reading amelia bedelia when i was younger {and i secretly still do} . such great books!!!

  • Reply
    May 24, 2011 at 2:10 am

    OHHHHHHHH EEEEMMMMMMM GEEEEEEEE!! This is the best post – it was a trip down memory lane. I thought that I was the only one who would rather read a book than watch TV. I could read and read and read. I love how I can get 100% lost in a book. Boxcar Children and the Babysitters Club were my faves, but I would read anything. We would go to the library once a week and I would check out the max number allowed – I got hooked on Mary Higgins Clark one summer. I still love to read, but find very little time to do so…maybe soon?!

    Awesome post – thanks!

  • Reply
    Kristen Duke Photography
    May 24, 2011 at 2:39 am

    I just re-read a wrinkle in time with my kids. I have made it a goal to pick a book and read aloud to my kids (10, 8, 6, and 2) each day after school. they have loved it and a great bonding time for all of us!

  • Reply
    May 24, 2011 at 3:59 am

    i have some fond memories of a few of these books as well. thank you for taking me back.

  • Reply
    May 24, 2011 at 4:04 am

    Definitely the Babysitters Club series, Sweet Valley High, I loved the Mr Happy series when I was super little, and anything by Bill Wallace (A Dog Called Kitty is a MUST READ!) Oh, and The Outsiders was a favorite middle school book as was Hatchet

  • Reply
    May 24, 2011 at 4:33 am

    You brought back some serious memories for me! I read veraciously as a kid. I still have all of my hard back Nancy Drew books. I'm saving them for my daughters.

  • Reply
    May 24, 2011 at 5:39 am

    Oh my gosh, the BFG and The Giver are my favorite books! Good picks. I also loved My Side of The Mountain and Sideways Stories of Wayside school.

  • Reply
    May 24, 2011 at 6:39 am

    we didn't have a tv growing up too. We took numerous trips to the book store. I remember my Mom's hands piled with books as we left. πŸ™‚ Some of our favorites were Wayside school, Mrs. Pigglewiggle, and the magic treehouse.

  • Reply
    Melissa @ knit purl baby
    May 24, 2011 at 7:24 am

    Oh dang! I totally forgot about The Boxcar Children! Good books!

  • Reply
    May 24, 2011 at 11:10 am

    I loved to read too and still do. I read all the time and love reading to my kids. Thanks for bringing back memories!

  • Reply
    MJ @ MD School Mrs
    May 24, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    I can totally tell we are from the same generation – just seeing those books brought back so many memories! My friends and I even made our own Babysitter's Club….yet we never actually did any babysitting – ha!

    Thanks for the reminiscing!

  • Reply
    Mrs. B.
    May 24, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Just seeing the covers to those books makes me happy and feel like a little girl again. πŸ™‚ Sigh…thanks!

  • Reply
    Dana Michelle
    May 24, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Oh my goodness I LOVE all of these. As a child, all I ever wanted to do was read too. This blog post brings back sweet memories of my childhood. I'm a little younger than you so this might be too new, but I also loved Sweet Valley High series. Great post!


  • Reply
    May 24, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Oh wow. Bunnicula. Brings back memories. I need to go buy a copy now for my son (even though he is 2 and can't read it).

    Sweet Valley Twins and Sweet Valley High were faves, too. I still remember exactly what the author described their house to look like πŸ˜‰

    I'm going to go turn off the TV now!

  • Reply
    Kassi @ Truly Lovely
    May 24, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    I loved to read too!!! And still do!!! I asked my mom awhile back how it was that she got her kids to be so interested in reading. Like your mom and grandma, she made it an exciting trip to go to the bookstore. And she was always reading! Hope I can instill that in my children someday!

  • Reply
    May 24, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Oh my, brings back memories! Judy Blume, Sweet Valley High, Babysitters Club, Anne of Green Gables…I would have rather been holed up in my bedroom reading on the floor than anything else when I was younger. I miss being able to read like that!

  • Reply
    Rolled Up Pretty and Cut Off Thoughts
    May 24, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    That was totally me when I was younger too! I would hide under the blankets with this nerdy head lamp thing and read all night, so funny πŸ™‚ I wish I could read now like I did back then… now I just fall asleep!

  • Reply
    May 24, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    I grew up without TV too. It's amazing how easy I find it to entertain myself compared to my husband. If the power goes out, and he can't watch TV or get on the computer he's devastated. I have my e-reader fully charge at all times and loaded with books.

  • Reply
    May 24, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    OH man…seeing these covers brought back some good memories…I used to love to read; need to make more time for reading again.

  • Reply
    May 25, 2011 at 12:21 am

    i loved the baby-sitter's club! my fave when i was growing up…

  • Reply
    Lexie Loo & Dylan Too
    May 25, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    I loved looking through the books you posted, and realizing that I had most packed away in a box for my kids! I read all the time as a kid, and my favorite day of the week was Friday, because my parents took me to the book store!

  • Reply
    Lexie Loo & Dylan Too
    May 25, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    I loved looking through the books you posted, and realizing that I had most packed away in a box for my kids! I read all the time as a kid, and my favorite day of the week was Friday, because my parents took me to the book store!

  • Reply
    May 25, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    ha! I had forgot about some of these books. Makes me think of my elementary school library!

  • Reply
    miss amomynous
    May 29, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    i had every nancy drew book, and i'm 99% sure she kept all of them for me!
    thank-you for the trip down memory lane!

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  • Reply
    Jessica Tingle
    November 23, 2011 at 1:59 am

    Oh my gosh! I loved so many of these books growing up. I think I read every single one of the Boxcar Children series. And the Giver and Where the Red Fern Grows are totally on my list of all time favorites. And I loved the Amelia Bedelia books, I remember her “drawing the drapes” and “dressing the turkey”! Good memories. I love this list!

  • Reply
    Make and Do Girl
    December 7, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    This is so funny to me. I loved reading too and had so many of the same books…Box Car Children…Baby Sitter’s Club…The BFG…Amelia Bedilia (an all-time fav!) Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

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    August 15, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Ah! Your list is amazing and makes me so happy! Bunnicula, A Wrinkle In Time and Anne of Green Gables made me particularly giddy. I don’t often meet people who have read the entire Anne of Green Gables series, so when I do, I consider them ‘kindred spirits’. πŸ™‚

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