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'children's literature'

Mar 26

Childhood Favorites are Just the Beginning by Charlotte Helgeson

Posted to Campbell Unclassified on March 26, 2021 at 3:20 PM by Genesis Gaule

HeidiWhen I see a book I loved as a child, I smile. If possible, I pick it up and glance through it and continue to smile.

Sometimes, it’s the character like in Heidi by Johanna Spyri who took me into the mountains. I was scared when she was scared and ecstatic when she returned to the mountain. Heidi has been reproduced for years and in many formats. She is still a friend of mine.

Black BeautyBlack Beauty by Anna Sewell has also been reproduced in many different ways. We even have a graphic novel in the library now. I reread that story many times as a child. I can still picture the shelf it sat on in my elementary school library. The librarian told me I had to give others a chance to read it also. I had to find other favorites!

But what about the ones I can’t find? The ones that publishers do not think are worth reproducing or have deemed them no longer good choices. Maybe you were able to keep a favorite from your childhood and have protected it from use and the passing of time. I have no books from my childhood. Far too many moves and I have to admit to wearing some out to the point of no return.

Where the Red Fern Grows

My little brother read Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls six times. He didn’t like to read but he loved that book. Our library has the movie and the CD audiobook.

Whether we had only a single favorite book or many, we need to remember when it was that it became a favorite and why. I read Heidi when I was about 8-years-old. Do I still like it? Yes, but it doesn’t give the same impact as it did in a second grader’s mind.

The Secret KeeperNow, I enjoy books about adventurous women, nature and stories about family relations like The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister and Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger. Did that interest start when I read Heidi? Probably.

My interest in reading about animals and their connection to people definitely started with Black Beauty. I loved horses as a kid; at least in books. I have little to no skill and less experience with horses but I still believe they’re beautiful animals. I have enjoyed a couple of our new children’s books with animals that are definitely being added to my Favorites List.

This Way, Charlie by Caron Levis has a wonderful horse friend. I immediately read it a second time. Crossings by Katy Duffield shows people caring for animals in such a way that I felt hope and have recommended it many times.

The Murmur of BeesAn adult title, The Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia, is a story that held my heart’s attention. It takes place during the 1918 Flu when a little boy is protected by bees.

Yes, I remember favorites from when I was young and I can find new favorites now. The best way to do that is to read a variety. Rereading can be fun, but even better is finding a new story between a book’s covers!

And please let me know when you find one. I’ll want to add it to my list of Must-Reads.

Mar 12

Butterfly in the Sky by Genesis Gaule

Posted to Campbell Unclassified on March 12, 2021 at 2:57 PM by Genesis Gaule

Growing up with no cable, PBS was the staple TV entertainment in our household. The Magic School Bus, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Sesame Street, Arthur--all were favorites at one point or another, but one I always looked forward to was Reading Rainbow.

reading-rainbowHosted by LeVar Burton, each episode featured a children’s book and on-location field trips or special guests centered around the book’s themes or subject. Books would take LeVar and the audience almost anywhere--inside a New York fashion designer’s studio, to a Renaissance Fair, through the Amazon rainforest, or even to the final frontier! LeVar’s genuine enthusiasm--for reading and how it intersects with life--was infectious. I loved watching him celebrate diverse cultures, visit new places, and talk about science, art, and history. Even at a young age, it helped nurture my love of reading by encouraging me to explore the world and to “take a look [...] in a book” for myself.

Here are a few books from the show I remember fondly--many sparking interest in subjects I still love diving into today. But (as LeVar would say) ”you don’t have to take my word for it,” check them out for yourself from our library!

Ox Cart Man by Donald Hall

LeVar explores a living history village in New England and reads this book describing the life and work of an early 19th-century farming family in New Hampshire.

Abiyoyo by Pete Seeger


Through this story based on a South African lullaby and folk story, LeVar shows the different ways people tell stories through song and dance. I can still sing the refrain of the book...

Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema

LeVar spends a rainy day inside and reads this book. The rhythmic rhyming prose and the rolling rumbling thunder-like narrator remains firmly planted in my memory.

The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash by Trinka Hakes Noble

Silly shenanigans ensue when Jimmy's pet boa constrictor escapes on a class trip to a farm.

A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams


After a fire destroys their home, a family works together to save up enough money to buy a new chair to replace the one they lost.

The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush by Tomi dePaola

In this vivid retelling of an old folk legend, a Native American boy dreams of creating a painting that will capture the beauty of a sunset. I was simply fascinated by the various traditional art forms and traditions that were highlighted in this episode.