April 10, 2006

7th Grade Memories

I’ve always been a voracious reader. I read everything I could get my hands on as a child. From Charley and the Chocolate Factory, being the first book I remember finishing, to every book in the series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I remember a teacher reading us Little House in the Big Woods and I was hooked. Every Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys I could get my hands upon was read and The Secret Garden was a favorite.

For some reason I never got into the Judy Bloom books. All my friends were reading “Are you There God? Its Me Margaret”, but I was looking for the adventure books or mystery. Coming of age books didn’t do it for me.

By the time I was in 8th grade I was reading Gone With The Wind, Watership Down, and Love Story.

But it is 7th grade I remember best, yet not well enough until today. I remember reading Flowers for Algernon for a book report. But the titles of my favorite books that year, have remained a mystery to me, my mind always searching for a clue, as I remember loving them, but for the life of me, I could remember nothing but the color Silver and a King.

I remember going into the Navy base library, and walking amongst the books one day, and finding one that appeared interesting. I don’t remember why I chose it. But I did.

I finished it and went back, realizing there was another and another and I read through the entire series, unable to put them down. And I remember going to the library, thoroughly excited with anticipation of finding the next… it was if it had been written for me.

Nobody else read them. They were always there. I loved them.

Over the years, I have wondered the names of those books. They escaped me. They were fantasy, good vs. evil, dark vs. light, a young boy who was the chosen one. So similar to a Lord of the Rings for children or Harry Potter. Secret places and hidden things and I loved it all.

And then this morning, my eldest needed a Newberry Award winner for his next book report (he chose A Wrinkle In Time), so I printed the list for us to take with us to the library. I was perusing the list when… a title jumped out at me.

It was called The Grey King. It jarred a memory. I jumped on line to see if it could be one of many and there it was… The Silver on the Tree.

I had found it. After 28 years. Did anyone else read these books as a child?

I’ve never had a series of books excite me about reading the way that one did when I was in 7th grade. I have favorites, but they are stand alones. East of Eden by Steinbeck. A Prayer for Owen Meaney by John Irving (one of my favorite authors). The Prince of Tides by Conroy (another favorite author). The Stand by King.

But never a series. It pulled me in like my son is pulled in by Harry Potter. And I suspect that he will never have a series of books he remembers as fondly as Harry Potter. They will forever be a fond memory. But I also suspect, that unlike his mother, he will not forget their names.

I’m buying him the Dark is Rising series. I hope he enjoys it as much as I did.

Posted by Boudicca at April 10, 2006 09:06 PM | TrackBack

I LOVED those books as a kid. I couldn't tell you for the life of me what they were about, but I do remember enjoying them.

Posted by: MikeTheLibrarian at April 10, 2006 09:17 PM

Yay! Someone remembers them!!! heh. You made my day.

Posted by: Bou at April 10, 2006 10:02 PM

Now I see why you wanted to talk to me about my bookshelves full of books. I have always been a voracious reader. BTW, I have read every book on those shelves. I'm running out of space and need to put some shelves in other rooms.

Posted by: Denny at April 10, 2006 10:21 PM

We had the same reading selection as children too! Just scary!! :-)

Posted by: Sissy at April 11, 2006 02:41 AM

I finally bought that series just last year. I've had The Grey King and Greenwitch for about 20 years, after finding them at a used library book sale some time ago. It's awesome to hear that you read these, too. :-) Susan Cooper has some great things. Your boys may like her book "The Boggart". As far as I know, it's not part of any series, but it's pretty cute, about a mischievous invisible creature from Britain. Kind of modern fantasy. :-)

*oh, no. Comment moderation says my website is invalid, because it has a blocked-out word in it! www.x a n g a.com/princessjami*

Posted by: Princess Jami at April 11, 2006 12:14 PM

Flowers for Algernon sparks a memory but I can't quite remember what they were about. I wasn't into fantasy so I didn't read the one's you were asking about - but I did read all the others. I also remember liking the Bobsey Twins and the Doctor Dolittle series.

Posted by: Carmen at April 11, 2006 02:13 PM

Coming Soon to a theater near you.




Posted by: Harvey at April 12, 2006 02:40 AM

Holy-craptastic-crap! Finally someone who has read that series!

You would not believe how many blank looks I got when I was younger when I asked people if they had read that series. Loved every book. Gonna get that series for my younger daughter. I have a feeling she'd like it as well.

Posted by: silentwarrior at April 12, 2006 11:45 AM

I didn't read those but A Wrinkle in Time is one of my favorites. I can't wait to introduce Brenna to my favorite books as she gets older.

Posted by: Jody Halsted at April 16, 2006 06:39 AM