Favorite Childhood Reading
As a pre-adolescent girl I can’t imagine life without the escape I got from my favorite books. Incidentally, they still hold places in my heart today. For instance, among the most influential and remembered tales were “Are you there GOD, it’s me, Margaret, The Boxcar Children, and the V.C Andrews, Flowers In The Attic series.” Over the years, I have looked for these books to share with my children in hopes of creating a love for reading in them. Now, I am ready to start sharing with my grandchildren as well as my readers and their families. What were your favorites growing up?
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Judy Blume
The most influential book I read as a pre-teen, maybe ever. To summarize, the story goes into great detail about what it’s like to be a young girl facing puberty and the author does a fantastic job making Margaret real and identifiable. Although quite outdated I believe it is still a great book for young girls to read. For example, it describes some of the issues we face making new friends, moving away, make-up, our periods, first crushes, and God . Many of the things that are hard to discuss with our girls in detail. It’s a great book to let them read and then discuss any questions they might have afterward.
The Boxcar Children,Gertrude C. Warner
The Boxcar Children was my first look at orphans and the strong bond of siblings. However, the book changed drastically for me reading it as an adult. For instance, as a child, the book immediately drew me in. To begin with, I remember the girls setting up an old abandoned boxcar as a home and most of all I remember the chipped tea set they found and used for dinner each night. Even though I was young, I knew there was a motherly, nurturing, side to me that would be useful for my entire life and I couldn’t help but cheer for the boxcar children.
Raising Young Readers
As an adult raising my grandchildren and a student in Human Services, the story took on more of a sad tone because I fully understood the dire situation of these children, especially in the beginning at the bakery. I always thought of this story as fiction until I learned about the Orphan Trains of the Great Depression.
Haven’t heard about the Orphan Trains and the estimated 250,000 children involved from 1854-1929? Well, now you have homework after you have finished re-reading the boxcar children! You may also learn a little more about today’s orphans from my article https://www.mammawchronicles.com/lets-stand-together-for-all-misplaced-children/
Teachers: below is a Common Core guide for Boxcar children for first and third graders if you are interested in utilizing these tales in class.
Q: Is Adoption and Indenture the same thing?
A: When a child is adopted, he/she become equal to the natural children
in all respects – including inheritance.
Indenture was a legal means to remove a child from an unsatisfactory
home without a long court procedure. The child was not given
inheritance rights. People tended to use the two terms interchangeably
but they are not the same thing. Many people simply did not know the
*Taken from the Q&A page National Orphan Train Complex Museum
and Research Center.
Flowers In The Attic Series, VC Andrews
Lastly, I came across this series in my early teens. The concept was so far fetched to me fortunately due to the lack of mass media and the internet feeding us every piece of bad news from around the globe. In brief, it is a heartbreaking tale of siblings being abandoned by their mother at their rich grandmother’s mansion. Soon, the grandmother had locked the children away in the attic. The most memorable part of the book for me, particularly, was the children realizing that their grandmother was feeding them arsenic and they were getting frail and sick. Again, a story about a set of orphaned children. Each has a special place in my heart, and I think they are still relevant in this age and worth taking a look.
Have I inspired you to read yet?
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