This is my eighth post, for age 8, of the October Memoir and Backstory Challenge hosted by Jane Anne McLachlan. My previous posts: Baby Speed Eater, Two Tales, Curls, Most Magical Christmas, Kindergarten, Places, and Mental Health in 1969.
I may have loved learning to read in first grade, but it was in third grade, with chapter books, when reading became a pastime. I read during every spare moment and my parents began to describe me as “always with her nose in a book.”
Given yesterday’s awareness of issues around abandonment and preparedness, it’s probably inevitable that the first series I remember falling in love with was The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner — those kids had survival skills. According to the bio at the website for Gertrude Chandler Warner museum in Putnam, Connecticut (housed in a boxcar, of course), Warner told her fans:
Perhaps you know that the original Boxcar Children… raised a storm of protest from librarians who thought the children were having too good a time without any parental control! That is exactly why children like it! Most of my own childhood exploits, such as living in a freight car, received very little cooperation from my parents.
Librarians tend to avoid making that sort of criticism these days, embracing the philosophy that any book that kids will read is a good book. But, I have to admit, it sometimes drove me to distraction that the kids in Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling avoided consulting the very capable adults around them. I remembered the quote from Gertrude Chandler Warner and had to admit that if I were 8 or 10 or 15, the reliance that Harry, Ron, and Hermione had on each other would be more appealing without adult interference.
What do you think about children’s books that feature an unrealistically low level of adult supervision?