What Is Your Most Memorable Childhood Book and Why?

I did an activity with participants in a workshop in Henrico County the other day-the Title I schools in the district are purchasing our IDR libraries and our focus has been on the importance of independent reading in classrooms. Of course, I shared some of Dick Allington’s research on students and independent reading and we discussed conferring with young readers. But, as a teambuilder at the beginning of the workshop, I asked the participants, “What is your most memorable book and why?” The responses were intriguing…

Some of the books the participants describe are by a specific well-known author-for example, Maurice Sendak‘s Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen. Some love the Little Golden Books series like The Poky Little Puppy, The Saggy Baggy Elephant, or Margaret Wise Brown‘s The Friendly Book. Some participants have loved other series, like the Nancy Drew books. Others even loved their history textbooks (all of which have now been discarded!). My personal “memorable books” are a biography I read about Annie Oakley called Annie Get Your Gun and Pippi Longstocking.

Our books are memorable for many reasons-we love the time we spend with the adult who read them to us or we loved the feeling of being sucked into the vortex of a series and having multiple opportunities to read books about the same subject matter. We often love the illustrations we find in texts or use the stories to help feed our imaginary play. Whatever the reason, the trade books we read as children help shape our view of the world. Sadly, not enough of the memorable books were texts we read in school; rather, they were books the participants enjoyed at home. I hope that will be different for the generation of children in our schools now!

What about you? What is your most memorable book and why?

P.S. You may be interested in this article at Choice Literacy, which also talks about the excitement of discovering books as a child.