Saturday, June 1, 2013

Armchair BEA Genre: From Kindergarten to Tween

Thinking about the books I grew up with as a kid is one of my most fondest memories of growing up. These books were (are) my friends, and I know I can say that here and not feel weird. If I say that around non-bookish people, you get the looks. If you say that around book people, you get understanding nods.

I have say I don't remember much of early childhood books, I do remember flipping through books of fairy tales and the Little Golden Books and being absolutely entranced, fascinated, and even at that small age, I attempted my own crude preschool attempts at writing. This was pre-Disneyification of girlhood, so thankfully I wasn't immersed in the world of Disney princesses--but the REAL princesses from Hans Christen Anderson and the Brothers Grimm and all the varieties in between. My absolute favorite was "East O the Sun, West 'O the Moon":


By the end of 1st grade, I was reading the classics: Black Beauty, Treasure Island, stuff like that. I still believe in the classics and fairy tales as wonderful gateway in which to experience the great minds and adventures of this world.
When I got older, 3rd and 4th grade, I would have to say Laura Ingalls Wilder and Anne of Green Gables would be the essential reading for girls that age--they were certainly influential on me.I loved the story of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Lucy Maud Montgomery defying the conventions at the time by being writers when the world and society at the time were telling them to say home and embrace more traditional roles. A young feminist in the making!  Little did I know that in my adult years, I would become more like LIW and live in the country in a tiny rural town and write about my experiences as well....



The next stage in my growing up would be the Judy Blume stage. I can't tell you how many times I must have read and re-read her books in middle school. Especially these:

This should be required reading for all young girls, in my opinion. I didn't even find out until college these books were banned because of "graphic" depictions of masturbation and talks about (gasp!) periods and other icky girl stuff. People are really uptight. It's a fact of life, girls need to know about it, get over it.

So finally we enter the Tween stage, which is where I pretty much got into all things Sci Fi and Fantasy. I read some of those books before, and had written my own little stories about a girl who can travel through space, but I didn't get really hardcore into it until the end of middle school and beginning of high school in which I devoured all things Mercedes Lackey, the Dragonlance series, many graphic novels (that's when Neil Gaiman's Sandman series first took off), Charles de Lint, and Ursula Le Guin, among many, many others.  The library was my friend. And still is.

This was a lovely little trip down memory lane!

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