About a month ago I tagged along on my husband’s business trip to Chicago so that I could check out Ernest Hemingway’s home in Oak Park, Illinois. (More on that another time—Suffice it to say Papa’s pop loved taxidermy and thus a legend was born). But while wandering the streets of the Windy City, I had a literary experience of another nature altogether when I stumbled upon the American Girl store. The company is most well-known for its historic-themed dolls (who doesn’t want to play with a doll who “grew up” during the Great Depression?), who each have a series of books devoted to them and the time periods in which they are supposed to have lived. As a kid, I gobbled up books about the adventures of these fictitious girls. The best part (well, for my parents, not me) was that my parents didn’t have to buy me a doll with accompanying books to learn all about harsh working conditions for children in the early 1900s; life on the homefront during World War II; or what it was like living as a pioneer on the American frontier. Instead, I checked out the American Girl novels for free at my local library—just like kids today can do at the Free Library!
I love when a literary moment from my childhood rears its head in an unexpected way. So if you see me in the children’s department grabbing a book to reminiscence, say hello!
How about you? What books did you love as a child? Do you ever re-read them to revisit your early literary experiences?