of Green Gables
Lucy Maude Montgomery
When I was a girl I wanted to be just like Anne. I even used to
read The Lady of Shallot over and over and pretend my Kool-Aid
was raspberry cordial! I wished I had a bosom friend just like Diana,
and I begged my own mother to dye my hair "auburn" for me.
She didn't, but she did give me a complete set of these books for Christmas.
Now my own daughter reads them to her own children.
Sir Walter Scott
I wasn't allowed to read most love stories when I was young, but
my mother let me read this book. The story of Ivanhoe and Rebeccah is
the original historical romance.
Lord of the Rings
J. R. R. Tolkien
My mother was accused of being a tomboy for loving these epics, but
she didn't care. After she read them to me I even made up tunes to go
with the songs! Tom Bombadil's were my favorite.
This is the book I most love. Some of the poems in the book remind
me of my life as a "little kid." My mother gave me this book
in fourth grade and I've loved it ever since.
Frances Hodgson Burnett
My own mother was a gardener so it's no surprise that this book
was the first one she gave me to read when I was old enough for novels.
The story of Mary, Colin, Dickon and the garden that changed them from
dour, sallow little people into rosy, happy children has stayed with
me always. I still catch myself testing seemingly dead branches to see
if they are "wick."
This may not be the most warm or nostalgic book, but it's the first
one I think of when I remember my mother's books. A strong feminist,
she made sure I was exposed to this dystopia, which has stayed with
me for life.
I've been carrying this book around for years. It made my mother
cry, it makes me cry, and I expect it'll make my daughter cry one day,
This book is also
one of Andréa C.'s Staff Picks.
the Night Kitchen
What I remember most about my childhood is a house full of books. This
story in particular was such a favorite that I can still recite it.
I can only imagine how many times my mother must have read it to me.
The gorgeous illustrations remind me of 1960s children's advertisements.
I was brought up on a diet of Enid Blyton books such as the Famous
Five. Psychologist Michael Wood said of her that "She was a child,
she thought as a child and she wrote as a child," and I think that's
why I remember her stories so fondly.
Louisa May Alcott
My mother read this book to me so many times the bindings fell apart.
When I was older she told me the story of Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy is what
inspired her to become a writer. She's now a successful romance novelist.
by Holling Clancy Holling
Paddle-To-The-Sea was one of the first long books my
mother read to me and one of the first long books I read on my own.
Several years ago I revisited Lake Superior for the first time since
and the images of a small carved Native American in a canoe were still
fresh in my mind.
with the Wind
My mother gave me this book to read one summer when I
was bored. It kept me out of her hair for a good two weeks, and come
October I convinced her to scour all the thirft stores in the neighbourhood
with me until we found some velvet curtains that we could use to make
a dress just like Scarlett's.
My mother loved and never forgot The Chrysalids because it combined
the fear of nuclear holocaust, which we grew up with, and the need for
tolerance in society. I remember thinking that if freckles were considered
aberration, I would be outcast.