In the last couple of posts, I have discussed the children’s books that affected me as a child and what I feel I got out of them. Composing this list has allowed me to understand how my adult personality and skills were formed at an impressionable age. Everyone should try it. The first two books discussed were The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner, and My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett.
Looking back, I can trace my inner monologue and attention to detail to Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. When I read that book for the first time, it was the thickest book I had ever read. I read it over a Labor Day weekend and remember distancing myself from the family and sitting on a hillside to read the last several chapters. I knew then (at maybe 9 or 10) that I was a reader like my parents, and that books mattered–sometimes more than people. Harriet knew how to be by herself although she was always aware of the world around her. Today, when I make up stories in the checkout line based on what I see in people’s carts, I think of Harriet. I never saw the movie with Rosie O’Donnell; I just cannot imagine anything improving upon that book.