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Topic: turning point book

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Subject: turning point book
Date Posted: 12/31/2010 3:15 PM ET
Member Since: 9/28/2005
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In the Distant Hours, the protagonist has a special book that inspired her love of reading as a child.  It got me thinking about this.  I can remember being in second grade reading "One Morning in Maine" and feeling I was right there.  A bit later, I loved the Little House books and A secret Garden.  I took these out of the library repeatedly.  How about you?  Was there a particular book that was the turning point in your love for reading, or for historical fiction in particular?

Date Posted: 12/31/2010 3:39 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
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Absolutely. For me it was Joan Wolf's Born of the Sun. I'd been reading true crime for years, and then started clearing out some old paperbacks I'd had sitting around unread for eons. Everything from mysteries to thrillers to romances. Then I pulled out Wolf's book and never looked back. I was an HF addict. Yeah, PG came right after and gets some of the credit, but Wolf started it all for me.

Date Posted: 12/31/2010 4:43 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
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Oh, yes....the Nancy Drew mysteries. I'm not sure which one exactly, but after I read the first one, I drove my parents nuts with library and bookstore visits til I'd read them all.....I WAS Nancy when I read those. I think I was about 9 or 10 at the time.

Date Posted: 12/31/2010 5:14 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2008
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I loved the Anne of Green Gables books and Johnny Tremain--still do.

Date Posted: 12/31/2010 6:19 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
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I read a book in grade school about Florence Nightingale, Lady With a Lamp.  As a teen I read Roberta Gellis's Bond of Blood.  I can't remember ever having a preference for books that weren't historically based, be it fantasy, romance, or mysteries.

Date Posted: 12/31/2010 7:07 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
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Colleen, I was a Nancy Drew addict also.  I had tons of the old yellow books. I'm still mad at my mom for giving them away.  I think I only have one or two of the ones I had as a child.  Any fan of Nancy Drew should read Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her .  Fascinating look at how the books were written and the syndicated publishing business of the 1930's and 40's.

My love for historicals started with John Jakes' Kent Family Chronicles, which I still can not believe that my mother let me read as a 12-year-old!

Date Posted: 12/31/2010 7:14 PM ET
Member Since: 6/1/2007
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There are two that come to mind immediately: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster and The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder.

For historical fiction I picked up The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory because of the cover and have been in love with HF ever since :)

Date Posted: 12/31/2010 7:26 PM ET
Member Since: 4/5/2008
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The Nancy Drew series in junior high....we had little green books in the school library that we swapped around all year.  Those were my mystery loves. 

A book on Daniel Boone for history.

Green Grass of Wyoming (third in Flicka series) for western/horse lore.

Mrs. Mike, of course.

Some unnamed book in elementary school about a boy building a rocket for science fiction then to Isaac Asimov later.

James Herriot books for memoir type stories.

And, most important,  DICK and JANE books that I devoured as a little tyke in elementary school.  Sigh, loved those stories.

Oh, and a book about a kid named Alvin Fernald that was a mystery/adventure.  Sure wish mom had kept that one for me.  She did keep the Arabian Nights one...thanks, Mom!

Last Edited on: 12/31/10 7:28 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/31/2010 7:30 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
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OH!  And Heidi! I loved Heidi and read it several times. 

Date Posted: 12/31/2010 7:42 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
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Oh and Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain.

Date Posted: 1/1/2011 8:33 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
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What a fun thread!  As someone who spends a good portion of her days getting kids to read something...I love hearing your turning points.

I can't remember not reading, or not loving to read.  I started at 4 and haven't looked back.  But Black Beauty had a profound impact on me.  It created such an empathy for animals in me that I can't watch Animal Cops on TV!! Or those awful, soul-wrenching commercials for the Humane Society.

For historical fiction....I read Jane Eyre in 5th grade, and soon moved on to Daphne DuMaurier, then as a teen, Victoria Holt/Jean Plaidy and Mary Stewart.  I found Kathleen Woodiwiss in 10th grade, and had a long, happy spree reading historical romances.  My love of the movie Camelot led me to reading Arthurian works too.  I love stories about Arthur and Camelot.  


ETA:  I still have my copy of Mrs. Mike...I loved that book!  I read it again in my early 30's, and had a completely different reaction to it.  At 13, I thought it was all romantic, and exciting, and I was there with the heroine.  At 33, I thought it was funny.  I still enjoyed it, though.


Last Edited on: 1/1/11 8:35 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/1/2011 10:37 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
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This is a great thread! I started reading at a very early age, but the books I remember most vividly are the Amelia Bedelia books. Does anyone remember them? I loved Amelia!!



I read each and every Amelia book until they were just worn ragged. I adored them!!

Last Edited on: 1/1/11 10:39 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/1/2011 10:58 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
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This thread just keeps on sticking in my head!  Oh how could I forget Mrs. Piggle Wiggle! Anybody else read those?  Unfortunately, I could not get DD into any of the books I read as a child.  She does like to read, but couldn't get into Nancy Drew or Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. 

Date Posted: 1/1/2011 11:06 AM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
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I can remember reading a set of books about Greek Gods and Goddesses and heroes etc that absolutely got me hooked on books as a young girl.  I always seemed to be reading, but I remember those in particular.   My parents also belonged to some sort of children's book club for me as well.  I would get a book that contained condensed versions of the classics every so often, so it might have started earlier than I even think.

Date Posted: 1/1/2011 11:16 AM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2009
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My children LOVED Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, Christa!  But neither one could get into Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys.  What a shame!  They did like the condensed version of the classics and The Book of Virtues (think that's the title). 

I, personally, was a Nancy Drew and Little House girl.  I read some condensed classics, with my favorite being Little Women.  Treasure Island was creepy. lol  I remember having to read it only in the daytime when my mother was around.  I think it was the drawings.  :D 

However, the Secret Garden scared me so much that I never did finish the book.  Isn't it wierd how different books affect us? 


Last Edited on: 1/1/11 11:16 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/1/2011 2:05 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2008
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OH!  And Heidi! I loved Heidi and read it several times.

Me too!  In fact, when my 3rd sister was born, my parents had been so convinced they were having a boy that they didn't have a name picked out.  As the eldest I suggested Heidi because I was in love with both the book and movie and thus sister number 3 is named Heidi.  I tell her that she should be grateful that I was past the stage of being enthralled with Pippi Longstocking by the time she was born!  :-)

Date Posted: 1/1/2011 2:19 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
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Oh! Pippi Longstocking!  I read those too.  Man, I read a lot of books as a child!

Bonnie (LoveNE) - ,
Date Posted: 1/1/2011 2:24 PM ET
Member Since: 2/17/2007
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Like many here, Nancy Drew was a must read but I can remember A Tree Grows in Brooklyn as the one that really moved me.

Date Posted: 1/1/2011 2:50 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,432
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I have always enjoyed reading & sucked up the Nancy Drew & Trixie Belden books as fast as I could read them. Another favorite childhood author was Marguerite Henry - I can still remember the Chincoteague books & King of the Wind!

Then, when I was old enough to move on to the books by Victoria Holt, Jane Aiken Hodge, Phyllis A. Whitney & Mary Stewart, there wasn't anything I would rather do than read.

The first historical fiction standout for me, however, is Desiree. Ahh, me ...


Date Posted: 1/1/2011 4:00 PM ET
Member Since: 8/29/2008
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My aunt bought me Charlotte's Web for my 8th birthday. I LOVED it. After that, I always had my nose in a book. Trixie Belden mysteries were favorites, too. And Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

I still think Charlotte's Web is one of the greatest books ever written.

Date Posted: 1/1/2011 4:35 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
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Kenneth Roberts put me on to HF when I was in college. I particulary enjoyed Rabble in Arms and Lydia Bailey, although I believe he's best known for Northwest Passage.

When I was a kid, I always had a book. I started writing my own stories when I was 6. I remember my dad telling me I probably shouldn't always make my brother the bad guy. LOL!

Date Posted: 1/1/2011 4:59 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
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It  seems like I literally 'grew up' with Laura and Mary.  My mother read the Little House books to me and my brothers during the early '40s.  I remember having to wait and wait and wait for These Happy Golden Years, published in 1943, during WWII, and perhaps due to paper shortages (?) our local library took forever to get it in. 

I also enjoyed Nance Drew, the Margaurite Henry books, Little Women, and all the rest of Louisa May Alcott's novels.  And, I read lots of chldren's biographies, published in blue bindings about such women as Dolley Madison, Patsy Jefferson, Abigail Adams, Martha Washington, etc.  Anybody else old enough to remember those??

Probably my first really 'meaty' historical fiction was Gone With the Wind.


Mary (mepom) -
Date Posted: 1/1/2011 6:24 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2009
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Nancy Drew series

White Fang

Black Stallion series by Walter Farley

My 2nd grade teacher had a reading contest. The one that read the most books won a prize. Guess Who?


Date Posted: 1/1/2011 7:13 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2005
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I read my set of the Little House books until they fell apart. My favorite was On the Banks of Plum Creek.

I read a lot of fantasy. I loved the Chronicles of Prydain and the Oz books.

I was always winning those reading prizes! I think nowadays, teachers award for "minutes read" to give the slower readers a fair chance!

In first grade, my teacher had a reading contest where she made a felt caterpillar for each child in the class. For every book you read, she added a segment to the caterpillar. My caterpillar twisted & turned all over the bulletin board. The teacher finally gave up adding segments to mine and kept track of my reading on a log sheet!

She gave prizes to the best girl reader and the best boy. I read more than twice as many books as the best boy reader. wink

Date Posted: 1/1/2011 7:20 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
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and the Oz books 

I loved those! I had mom's editions from the 1930's (still have them). I don't recall any particular book from childhood getting me started, all I know is I wanted to read from the get-go. With my birthday in December they weren't going to let me into school until I was really five, even though I was already raring to learn to read. Mom was miffed and said she'd teach me herself (which they didn't like). Glad she did, guess who was reading 3rd grade readers in the 1st grade?