Sunday, January 27, 2008


My childhood is now at some distance. Obviously, any specific book I recall reading as a child made a big impression. So, I welcome you to my memories.

1. I enjoyed biography and Grosset and Dunlap had a series they called "Signature Biographies." I read biographies about the following people and most were from that series.

Abraham Lincoln
Amelia Earhart
Andrew Jackson
Annie Oakley
Benjamin Franklin
Buffalo Bill
Christopher Columbus
Clara Barton
Crazy Horse
Daniel Boone
Davy Crockett
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Eleanor Roosevelt
Florence Nightingale
Francis Marion ("Swamp Fox")
Franklin D. Roosevelt
General George Armstrong Custer
George Washington
Good Queen Bess (Elizabeth I)
Helen Keller
Jim Thorpe (*not signature series)
Joan of Arc
John J. Audubon
John Paul Jones
Leif Ericson
Louis Pasteur
Louisa May Alcott
Madame Curie
Marco Polo
Mark Twain
Napoleon Bonaparte (*not signature series)
Robert E. Lee
Stephen Foster
Theodore Roosevelt
Thomas Alva Edison
Thomas Jefferson
Ulysses S. Grant
Winston Churchill

Though this series is now out of print, the individuals in this list are all quite famous and other biographies are available. If there are any names on the list you do not recognize, perhaps you would enjoy learning about them. Happy reading.

2. Grosset and Dunlap also published a series of historical fictions (We Were There ....). I don't remember nearly as many of these, though I know I read many. The ones I do remember were about:

Traveling on the Oregon Trail
The Driving of the Golden Spike (After the Completion of the Transcontinental Railroad)
The Launch of the Nautilus (The 1st Nuclear Submarine)
The Battle of the Bulge (War not Dieting!)

3. I read all of the Nancy Drew, Trixie Beldon, and Cherry Ames books which were available at that time. More Nancy Drew books have since been written. Trixie Beldon books are being republished. Cherry Ames books are unfortunately out of print. The American Nursing Association would do well to try to have those republished.

4. Fantasy/Science Fiction - I know that I read lots of science fiction, especially those by Heinlein and Asimov, but these are the only specific titles I recall reading as a child.
Gammage Cup by C. Kendall (Fantasy)
Podkayne on Mars by Robert Heinlein
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

5. Books I read as a teen:

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell (This book is told from the perspective of the horse. It will definitely make you cry. By the way, the movie follows the book closely.)

Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (This is on many "banned books" lists.)

Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut

Hiroshima by John Hersey (Warning: This is very descriptive of the horrors the victims of the bombing endured.)

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (This is an extremely funny book, unless you have been in the military and know first-hand some of the senseless things that happen. As I think back on it, this book is in many ways like the TV show M.A.S.H. Hawkeye needed an incubator to run bacterial cultures, so the Army offered a pizza oven. In the middle of winter, they needed boots so the Army sent hundreds of ladies' high heels.

A Separate Peace by John Knowles (Warning: Very Sad)

The Silver Chalice by Thomas B. Costain (The Chalice is the cup which Jesus drank from at the Last Supper.)

The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas (This refers to the robe Jesus was wearing on the way to his Crucifixion.)

Essays by Francis Bacon - I was particularly fond of his essay "Of Books".

New Atlantis by Francis Bacon - He described a utopia and many inventions and devices which didn't exist in his time, but which we now take for granted.