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Beloved Books (when I was 8 - 9 years old)

We went back to the States for two years when I was 8 and 9 and I promptly found the rest of the Oz books in the library. It was very hard to find English books in Taiwan and I hadn't been old enough to take the bus alone to the bookstore, so the U.S. was book paradise.

We traveled with my dad around the eastern United States raising support to come back to Taiwan, and staying in people's homes was bliss. The first thing I said in every home was "Where are your books?" and you didn't see me anymore. I was immersed in other worlds while absorbing the atmosphere of the homes we stayed in. It was a glorious childhood.

We hadn't had a TV in Taiwan, and now we were watching cartoons at Gramma's. However, very early on when I was eight, on one of those perpetual car trips up and down the Eastern seaboard, I remember crying in the back seat as I heard my dad telling my mom we weren't going to watch TV anymore (except for "Discovery" and "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood" it turned out). This was perhaps just as well, considering that my favorite TV shows at the time were "The A-Team", "Dungeons and Dragons", and "The Dukes of Hazzard". +/-

But books gave me that same movie feel inside my head, and here are the books that have stuck in my head as pseudo memories:

(Where available, hyperlinked titles will take you to the book's page on where you can read it online for FREE. Scroll down that page and you'll see many options for reading/downloading the book: plain text, html sometimes with the original illustrations, a Plucker version for your cell phone, and sometimes an audio version, etc.)

The Oz Books by L. Frank Baum
e-book and audio

Some covers I especially remember reading to my mom, in no particular order:

Glenda of Oz and Ozma of Oz
Scarecrow of Oz and Road to Oz
Tik Tok of Oz and Road to Oz

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh 尼姆的秘密 by Robert C. O'Brian
Read it to my parents.

Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh

Robin Hood 囉 賓 漢 by Howard Pyle

Robin Hood

Heidi 海蒂 by Johanna Spyri
ebook and audio


Heidi's valley today ... +/-

We were homeschooled, and when we were staying with my paternal Gramma down in St. Petersberg, Florida, my dad got the key to the empty church building during the week and my mom would pick a classroom to teach us in. I still remember stretching out with my homework on the preschooler's bright yellow and orange shag carpet and the church smell of halls and empty classrooms. It was like having our own secret clubhouse. Outside was a huge Florida field with a lone spanish tree with spanish moss hanging down and we would take breaks and eat tuna fish sandwiches out there. Of course every spare minute I got was spent raiding the church library and I know I read at least this next book there:

Black Beauty 黑骏by Anna Sewell
e-book and audio

Black Beauty

Little Women 小婦人 by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women

Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
e-book and audio

Jo marries Professor Bhaer and they have a family/school of their own.

Little Men

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink

(true story mostly, and I adored the cover art by Trina Schart Hyman)

Caddie Woodlawn

Daniel Boone (a true story)

I don't remember which biography of his I read, except that it was fairly complete and adult, so this is the closest picture to what the book made me feel like that I can find.

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
(true story mostly)

Read the whole set to my mom and 15 years later I read them all to my dad, and with various English students through the years.

Little Britches by Ralph Moody (a true story)

Little Britches

The Hardy Boys by Leslie Macfarlane aka. Franklin W. Dixon +/-

Leslie McFarlane had a reputation for versatility -- at various points in his career he was an editor at Maclean's, a screenwriter, producer and director for the National Film Board of Canada, head of the TV drama script department at CBC, and a Hollywood scriptwriter (for Bonanza).
It is his Hardy Boys work, however, that stands out as his most endearing legacy. As one of a stable of ghostwriters writing under the pen name of Franklin W. Dixon, McFarlane is widely credited for creating the literary style and characters' personalities that served as the template for the series, and he also served as its most prolific author, writing 20 books in the 58-volume series.
"I was about 10 years old when I discovered the Hardy Boys books on my dad's bookshelves, and began reading them," recalls son Brian McFarlane. "One day I asked him why he was interested in reading kids books and he told me he didn't read them, he wrote them! 'But don't tell your friends that I write that nonsense,' he told me. I don't think he had any idea of the huge impact those books had on young people and how it hooked so many of them on reading."
"He considered the Hardy Boys books hack work but he nonetheless approached his work as a pro," says daughter Norah Perez. "He had a funny relationship with those books: he never got any fan letters, no feedback from the Syndicate, no notice of sales figures. Some times he vowed he'd never write another Hardy Boys book. At the end of his life he said to us: 'You know, I think people are only going to remember me for those [*] books.'"
"It's the diaries, though, that I find most fascinating," continues Perez. "The daily entries not only include intimate family revelations, but also record my father's personal, professional and financial struggles before, during and after the Great Depression, through the Second World War and the postwar years."

At that age, my imagination was so vivid I was putting myself into the stories I read as a shadowy extra character. I read as many as I could get my hands on.

Hardy Boys

Rascal 小 浣 熊 by Sterling North (a true story)


Trixie Belden and the Red Trailer Mystery

Trixie scorned dresses, wore jeans and had her hair cut short like a boy's. I never wanted to be like her sartorially (Ozma already had my heart) but years later I went "A-ha!" when wondering how women got brainwashed out of beautiful clothes and into men's work clothes. Not that I held Trixie responsible but she was indicative of that mindset.

Trixie Belden and the Red Trailer Mystery

Child Abuse in the Classroom by Phyllis Schafly

Read this to my parents. It's why lots of people homeschool.
Child Abuse in the Classroom

Related Posts:

beloved books (1 - 3 years old)
beloved books (4 - 7 years old)
You are here: beloved books (8 - 9 years old)
beloved books (10 - 12 years old)
beloved books (13 - 14 years old)
beloved books (15 - 30 years old)
books (30 years old to present)
books I want to read


  1. I remember reading most of these books. I stayed away from the ones that made me cry. Life is full of distresses. I didn't need to read something that brought me down emotionally.

  2. I loved reading this! I read many of these books as a child, and many of them I plan to order for my own children since our tastes in books are quite similar! Thank you.
    A Pen Pal


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