Childhood Books: Part I

Since I’ve been missing in action and my book-related posts have been noticeably lacking, I’m playing catch up with this, the mother of all book posts. This meme encourages bloggers to recount the books of their childhood. This is my life…in books.

Elementary School (1st-4th grade). 1991-1994.

I got my first library card during a 1st grade class field trip to the library. (To this day, I still use the same library card with my first grade handwriting on the back). The first book I checked out was Chicken Little and I made sure to show it off during show and tell. I made such a big fuss about it that all my classmates were begging me to let them read Chicken Little. And I was happy to oblige—at the price of their pink crayons. I guess after all these years, things haven’t changed much. I’m still advertising my books, trying to push titles off as trends, and getting friends to read. I feel like Lavar freaking Burton!

Speaking of Lavar Burton. This was the era of Reading Rainbow. How cool was this show? Come on, if you watched it and loved it, give us a shout out. I didn’t read much during this period of my life, but I felt like I read a lot more when I really just watched the books read on Reading Rainbow. My favorite episode was “Tar Beach” in which Lavar grills hot dogs on a Manhattan rooftop.

Lavar is the man!

5th-6th grade 1994-1996.

One word. Goosebumps. Of course, I also read the Sweet Valley High series, but Goosebumps were the catalyst to my voracious reading life. Goosebumps got me to read books every week. In 5th grade, all the boys ordered the latest Goosebump novels from Scholastic’s catalog. My mom, who was anti-horror, strictly forbid me from reading Goosebumps. So the summer immediately following 5th grade, I snuck out to the library and stumbled upon a bin of Goosebump paperbacks. The sight of a Goosebump cover conjures up idyllic memories of lazy summer afternoons devouring these books while lounging under a tree, turning the pages with sticky popsicle fingers, and riding my bike until sunset. I’m so grateful my parents allowed me to bum around during my childhood rather than demand I lead a more structured life in say, soccer camp or piano practice.

It wasn’t long before I polished off all the Goosebumps the library had to offer so I moved on to the Fear Street Series (R.L. Stine) and Christopher Pike.

Ultimately, this was the prequel to my horror phase:

7th grade. 1996-1997.

I venture into Stephen King territory. However, this phrase was not all horror. I remember harboring this big crush on Leonardo DiCaprio and watching Romeo and Juliet over and over again. Then I read Romeo and Juliet during silent reading and thought about Leo. It got to the point that I could recite R&J word for word, though it wasn’t until 9th grade, when we had to read it for English class, that I finally understood what Shakespeare meant. This play is definitely imprinted on my brain. Sometimes I even recite it when I’m driving to work… I don’t think about Leo anymore though.

8th grade. 1998. This was a busy reading year. So busy in fact, that it requires I sleep on it overnight so I can do this phase justice.

This post warrants a sequel…
Which I will happily provide in Childhood Books: Part II!

8 thoughts on “Childhood Books: Part I”

  1. Reading Rainbow is still on. 😀 I know because it comes on the same PBS station as Sesame Street. Yay!

  2. (forgot to add: my niece loves Sesame Street. I’m not a big fan, but whatever makes her quiet!!)

  3. How nice! I love this post! In fact, I’m inspired to write something about “my life in books” anytime soon on the internet, too. Thank you for the inspiration!

  4. I LOVED Reading Rainbow. I have Lavar Burton to thank for teaching me about centrifugal motion and upside-down roller coasters. He demonstrated with a bucket of water.

    I had forgotten completely about Christopher Pike books. I think I might have read a trilogy by him…need to research that!

  5. chartroose:
    My 1st grade teacher forbid us to bring in our crayons from home. So the only crayons we had were those big, old school crayola ones that comes 5 in a box without pink.
    Pink crayons were contraband. And since it was ’91, pink was the hot thing and having pink crayons increases a girl’s popularity. They were like girly currency.

  6. Ah, Goosebumps. Those were the days books. The best were those chose your own adventure stories. Man, they were creepy! I’m pretty sure I’ve still got some floating around…


  7. I loved looking at Reading Rainbow when my girls were growing up. I especially miss the show now that my grand-daughter is here. Levar you made the difference.

    Thank you

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