I’m not ashamed to admit I still love kids’ books. Among my favorites are Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series and Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series. I actually reread both series every year.
I grew up with the Little House books, but didn’t discover Anne of Green Gables until I was about 22. I read the entire series the summer before grad school and have lived part of every summer since with Anne on Prince Edward Island.
I do love a book that sweeps me into another time and place. I’m a history buff, and the 1800s and early 1900s have always held a fascination for me. Along with many other times, of course—but something about the American frontier captured my heart as a kid. I built my interest around the pioneers, and extended it across the pond into Victorian England.
For me, stories of struggle and satisfaction at the cusp of a changing era remind me of being a kid—we all face continual and steady changes as we grow up, and each little victory is, while not quite like discovering electricity or conquering the wild plains, a settling of a new frontier.
It’s more noticeable as I watch a friend’s six-month-old discover the world around her. Every discovery—a hand, her own foot, the taste of a grape—is a grand moment, and every frustration—her inability to walk or hold up her own head—is a tragedy. Space may be the final frontier, but every little human settles old, familiar lands with every single day. And somehow, it’s novel to watch, every time.
I revert to my kids’ books any time I get stressed or anxious, and the stories they contain take me to a simpler world, one that probably never existed, where every day brought a new discovery or dream.
What books speak to you of childhood? Where do you find new—and old—dreams to discover?