Monday, March 12, 2012

the first book you ever read.

{photo by Paul Greenhow}

Last night, a friend asked a bunch of us what book we first remember reading, not because we were forced or because someone read it to us, but because we enjoyed it and because we were reading it on our own.
 
It took me a while to figure out what exactly mine was. At first I thought Little Women. I remember reading that book for the very first time in the third grade. I threw my paperback copy across the room when Amy burned Jo's book (how could she?), and I hid in my closet to sob when Laurie chose Amy. I was devastated, heartbroken, and even as an eight year old, I knew I wanted to be Jo so badly. 
 
Little Women may be the first book I felt down to my very core, but I can't forget all the Little House on the Prairie books, or The Boxcar Children, or The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew. I loved all of those books; I became all of those characters. I loved Laura, how brave and spunky and spirited she was, how eager she was to tag along with her Pa and how she relished in being called Half-Pint. And my cousins and brother still tease me for making us all act out the plotlines to many a boxcar mystery in my aunt and uncle's backyard. (It should be stated that their potting shed looked exactly like a boxcar.)
 
Then, though, a friend reminded of the books that I probably really did first read for fun: the American Girl series. I think they were my first "chapter books," the very first books I could read on my own, without Mom or Dad helping me power through. I started with Kirsten, then Felicity, Samantha, and Molly. Addy and Josephina came later, and to this day, I wonder if I'm the way that I am at least in part because of who my very first role models were.
 
Aren't we, to some extent, a product of what we read?
 
So now, I'm turning the question to you: Do you remember the first book you ever read, just for fun? Do you remember the first book you actually enjoyed reading, the books you first got lost in? (My friends mentioned Goosebumps and Nancy Drew.)
 
I'd love for you to share in the comments!

11 comments:

Julie said...

What a fun topic! The first books I remember reading on my own and loving were the Berenstein Bears. I loved that little family so much!

Elizabeth and Kyle @ Love Is the Adventure said...

Okay, I can't remember the very first ones...BUT I remember Encyclopedia Brown. I had the biggest nerd-detective crush on him. I was never smart enough to figure out how he solved the mysteries without looking in the back of the book for the answers. But all the same...love.

Erin said...

Nancy Drew! I would read them non-stop throughout the summers. I loved how smart Nancy was, both in style and intelligence. And even though the mystery of each book was what kept me engrossed, I love just as much how they always had to freshen up and change clothes because they had just arrived at some resort or gone to play tennis at the club. ;)
And probably going back earlier, I remember Amelia Bedelia. I think that was my first easy reader, and I just loved all of her antics and misunderstandings. I think I also loved it because it opened up the world of how words and phrases can have so many different meanings.

Laura said...

Like so many girls from our generation, I read a lot of The BSC. I started my own Baby sitting club, would wear artistic Claudia-inspired outfits and still can only think of people named Stacy as Boy Crazy. As an adult, I love reading blogs that snark those books as I can now see just how ridiculous they were, yet love remembering all of the characters and their stories.

Jenny said...

I don't remember the first, but I loved The Babysitter's Club when I was little. I watched the movies and read all of the books...I so wanted to be one of them!

Jenny said...

I don't remember the first, but I loved The Babysitter's Club when I was little. I watched the movies and read all of the books...I so wanted to be one of them!

Kristin said...

Anne of Green Gables was my very first chapter book. I sure bit off a wordy one to chew, didn't I? They are still, to this day, my very favorite books!

annie said...

so many great ones listed here! i loved encyclopedia brown (can't believe i'd almost forgotten), and anne of green gables was one of my very early favorites... i wanted -- okay, i still want -- to be anne shirley.

Najee said...

Mine would definitely be Sweet Valley Kids. I felt like I grew up with Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield. Heehee.

Annie said...

The books I remember first reading as a kid are actually the ones you mention in your post! I didn't read Little Women until middle school, though, and I've actually never read Five Little Peppers and How They Grew.

Lauren said...

I love that you brought up The Boxcar Children--my cousins and I always acted it out. And we only ate "bread and butter" when we went out to dinner just like the boxcar kids. Thanks for bringing up such good memories.