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The library was important for me too. I still remember the self-esteem boost I got after my Mum got me special permission to borrow more than the standard 6 - "Allow extra books" was typed on my card, and I so enjoyed this privilege.


This was a great post :) Books mean the world to me, though I was one of those children who didn't really get into reading until highschool. I hated the disection of novels, however, I loved the variety that we were introduced to. Your collection is lovely! I'm very envious :)

I think my favourite books growing up were the Chronicles of Narnia.(I used to sneak into the library at school during breaks and read them when I was very young). I also loved Black Beauty, The Secret Garden and the Avonlea series (cousins to Anne of Green Gables)

To this day, I find comfort in books that I can rarely find elsewhere. In the hardest of times, I am rarely without a book by my favourite author, even if I have read it a thousand times over.


I used to practically live at the library especially during the school holidays and my favourite author was Enid Blyton. I loved all her books but my favourite series was the Adventure books which I see sitting on Rohan's shelves! The first ones I read belonged to my older cousin June,she let me read them at her house but I couldn't take them home with me. I did have some books of my own but not many. Little Grey Rabbit's Washing Day was one that I did have and I've always loved these books by Alison Uttley. As I got older I discovered the Biggles books and read all of them - I still have quite a large collection of them which I read occasionally even now. Enid Blyton's Malory Towers and St Clare's books led me on to The Chalet School books and that's where I spent my school days in my head! Maybe I'd better do a post on my own blog instead of filling up yours. Thank you for lots of lovely memories.


I, too, looked forward to the weekly library trip. I read so fast that generally the kids books I was allowed to check out were so short I had them read before we got home.... Good think I didn't mind reading them over and over. I must have read Little Women 50 times.

Thanks for the memories!


One of my favourites as a child was called The Stream That Stood Still,by Beverley Nichols (1975 I was 5, I was actually reading age 2), we were in one of my favourite towns Hay-on-Wye, the year before last and I tracked down a copy, if you like books you'll love Hay-on-Wye, it's famous as a literary town and for the number of bookshops there. I'm reading The Friday Night Knitting Group at the moment, I have recently finished The Time Travelers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, an extraordinary novel, which made me cry, I love books that make me cry, another favourite as a child was Watership Down!


Wow! Your story is exactly like mine - the devouring the library;s books!
I used to read like mad!
My parents did buy me books but found that I read at such a pace that it was cheaper to go to the library! I loved all sorts of writers - Enid blyton was a particular favorite cause of all the different types of books she wrote!

Just looking at your books gives me goosepimples too!


I could not tell you, even, how many times I read each of Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" books. I loved Pippi Longstocking and every fairy tale and Beatrix Potter.... I, too, have spent a fair amount of time and money on eBay, buying books from my childhood to share with my son (and to treasure for myself). I was a library hound, too, both the school library and the local public library. Reading is such a magnificent life-long passion to spark in children; be sure to do what you can to put children's books into children's hands all over the world (we donate books to various organizations that get them out to children who otherwise wouldn't have any).


I loved the Alison Uttley books! We have some here from when I was little. I also spent an awful lot of time in the library as a child. Did you read Cherry Ames, Student Nurse and all those kind of books?

I never got into the horsey books that much - Diana Pullien-Thomson etc.

I read all the Anne of Green Gables books and I loved Noel Streatfield! I wish I could browse an English library and remember some of the books I loved as a child.

Now I use abebooks and buy second hand books from there for my boys instead.


what a ton of vintage goodness you have there!! and such an ADORABLE photo of you!!! :)


Enid Blyton too, growing up in India. And William (Richmal Crompton.) I LOVE William! The funny thing is, I've no kids, but I've collected all the William books as an adult. And I'd collect more, except I'm running out of space... (fabric or books, its a hard choice.)


I loved this post, thanks so much for sharing it! I too, bought books for my son that were childhood favorites of my own. We've been cleaning and donating a lot around here lately, and it's funny how ready he is to pass along books he is done with, but I can't let go of the ones that I fell in love with both the first and second times around.


I just love Noel Streatfield, too. Also the Betsy, Tacy and Tib stories. I just found the whole set again and picked them up.


I like that picture of you. you have been a beautyful child.
just today i have been to the library with my daughter. i also have an obsession for children's books. mainly the nice illustrated ones. I am very picky when it comes to book illustrations. as for my favourites there are sven norquist ("pettersson and findus"), astrid lindgren (definitely a classic), but also all kind of fairytales. There are a few publishers here who really have a sense for good books. I used to have more books than I do now. But I started giving away those that I won't read again so that there's space for new ones. Always a bit feng shui, you see ;-)
I like the 50ies/60ies illustrations of children's books a lot.


I want to see your grown-up books too!!


Lovely post (oh and your son's crown is stunning too).

I loved the Little House on the Prairie books and still read them regularly (to my own children). I also loved Anne of Green Gables and the Katy series :)


Love the school pic Simmy! I used to love Mallory Towers, The Famous Five, Mabel Lucie Attwell books etc; My mum had a book called Tiptoe and Jolly about a fairy and a sailor doll - I loved that book. By the way (hope you don't go against me for this) but I am reading, and have been reading since January.....wait for it....Tess of the D'urbervilles!!! I am enjoying it even if I find it a little hard going. But then again I wasn't forced to read it at school like my sister was, who absolutely hated it!


I think you may actually have more books than I do 8-)

I read so much as a child that my grades suffered because I neglected my schoolwork to read instead. In desperation my parents forbade me to go to the library until I brought my grades up...at one point I snuck off to the library and smuggled home some books. Both of my parents loved reading as well, they just felt that there was a certain way things should be done and schoolwork took precedance.

Some of my favorite books were Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, The Velvet Room, The Changeling, Penengro, a series of books about a little witch named Dorrie--so many different ones really! I go to a lot of library sales and have been able to build my collection anyway. At one point I was a children's bookdealer for a few years, selling on Ebay and I found lots of great stuff during that time.


My favorite books were the Narnia series, the Wolves of Willoughby Chase and the Dark is Rising series. As a child, books made everything seem to be within the realm of the possible. My mother is also a ravenous reader. She is a non-native English speaker and she learned a lot of her vocabulary by reading 19th century novels when she first arrived in the US. So there we were in New Jersey with my mom talking the way Emily Bronte wrote. Just imagine.


milly molly mandy or anne of green gables or pollyanna, anyone with an attic. i have managed a 2 storied house but as yet no attic. whenever i see a really old house with one i am off in my head and suddenly i am wearing a little red and white striped dress and looking out on the fields!
i have just read prairie 'the saturdays'we both loved that one,very quirky and sweet!
still wothout mac but have loaded my e mail address onto michael's laptop if you feel the need to type a little more i would love to hear form you! that was a very very long post simmy, and a lovely one, i really enjoyed the trip back to my childhood. this has turned into a very long comment! xxx


I remember reading Enid Blyton, but couldn't tell you which ones. A series that I discovered as a parent is Swallows and Amazons - filled with great summer holiday adventures. I love the collection of books, they have such a wonderfully nostalgic feel to them, the simpler pen and ink illustrations and more limited color palate.


what a great post!!
books are loved in our house too!!
i loved astrid lindgren and erich kaestner a lot :o)
oh and your beautiful photo made me smile.


I just loved seeing all the books that you love to read. I really love children's books too, and we go every 2 weeks to get new bedtime stories to read each night. Both of my kids love reading books, and I do remember sitting on the couch reading a book in 2 or 3 days. Enid Blyton always wrote beautiful books, and I used to love Trixie Beldon mystery novels, The Wishing Chair Adventures and so on. I still love to read books now, although it is more knitting books than anything else.


What a great collection of books! My favourite when I was young was the Sadler's Wells books by Lorna Hill. Sadly, I don't have any of them...all borrowed from the library, but you've just inspired me to collect some for my daughter.


What a wonderful post! I loved reliving your book memories and found alot of them were the same as mine. I, too, used to escape into the world of books as a child. It was the perfect way to excape into a life that was full of adventure and mystery. I loved anything by Enid Blyton and would devour her books. I also used to love the Bobbsey Twins, Pippi Longstocking, Mary Poppins and as I got older Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon. I loved the classics, Little Women, Five Little Peppers ... I still love Children's books. I read all the time still, although these days it is more often than not a cookery book, although I generally do have several novels on the go at a time!


Enid Blyton! The adventures of the wishing chair, the enchanted wood, Famous Five etc etc etc. I LOVED reading as a child, and i too would shut myself away and read until it was finished. Ahh for those days again - but with 3 little ones, reading puts me to sleep. One day i'll start again, but for the moment i get to relive my childhood by reading to my little ones the same books i read!

little jenny wren

Oh Simmy , I spent so many hours as a child reading and being transported to that wonderful world of books. I read lots of Enid Blyton as a small child and Beatrix Potter but really I just read everything I could get my hands on. I loved the Borrowers and wanted to be one, I loved English schoolgirl novels and those horsey books by the Pullein Thompson sisters. Once I was loaned a big box of books by one of my mother's friends, full of horsey, schoolgirly books and Anne of Green Gables.I was in heaven until I had to give them back.
I loved everything written by Louisa Alcott and then I discovered Charlotte Bronte and on it went into my teen years and beyond. I adored the Narnia stories and I even liked the Trixie Belden books.
I still have some of my original books but many of them were library books and so they are lost to history. Any book I borrow now and truly love I try to buy because I feel a need to own the books I love, I worry that they won't always be at the library.
You know book cases add very good insulation to walls so you probably need more books and more book cases to keep your house warm in winter and cool in summer.


I also collect Ladybird books although not as many as you - What to look for in Spring, Summer etc being my favourites because of the illustrations. My favourite novel would have to be Little Women, and Good Wives and the one about Jo, was it Jo's Boys?


Your school photo brought a smile to my face. What a wonderful picture to go along with a wonderful post. I'm intrigued by the close-ups of the books you've shown and have placed a few of the titles on hold at the library. My children love to be read to and I enjoy sitting down together to do it, so thank you for sharing from your shelf. My favorite childhood books were Emily Emerson's Moon and Fierce John. Both are out of print. Fierce John involves a boy who creates and then wears a lion costume. He roams around his household and scares everyone in it. It was fascinating to me because three generations lived together under one roof and they were truly convinced that John was a lion. All ends well when the lion is given a bowl of ice cream to eat and proves he is really John. The illustrations were wonderful and I can still picture some of them in my mind's eye. Favorite books still in print include Charlotte's Web and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Both were read aloud to our class by our teacher in fourth grade. That was a golden year.

Jessica Madsen


My library had an old bathtub that they had lined with cushions for us kids to read in. It was wonderful! I used to read the Nancy Drew mysteries there. At home, my mom would read aloud to me when the boys were out on boyscout campouts. I loved the Borrowers and the Five Little Peppers. I must have driven Mom crazy, though--I remember reading ahead of her...the ears listening to the words she read, and the eyes reading on faster to learn what happened next!

Jessica M.


What a great post!

I'm involved in a small (4 person) reading group that focuses on our books of childhood. It was started when we were discussing Frances Spufford's memoir "The Child That Books Built". Our next book was "The Amulet" by E. Nesbit. Now we're reading "Little House on the Prairie".

It's so fascinating to re-read them as adults with appreciation for (1) how one FELT them as a child, (2) how one UNDERSTANDS them know as an adult looking back, and (3) how I ANTICIPATE our son reading them when he's old enough.


Thanks so much for this post--I had never even HEARD of Enid Blyton, but now I shall be keeping a sharp eye out.
I'm a fellow book-lover, and will part with pieces of my fabric and/or yarn stash before I start giving away my beloved books.

Nadege Armour

I too love, love books. There were very few books in my home before I learned to read--once I learned watch out. The books just seem to multiply. My favorite books are The Middle Sister, A Room for Cathy, all the Betsy and Tacy books, all the Ramona the pest books and of course all the Little house on the Prairie books. As a 42yr old mom of 4 kids whenever I go to the library aside from the regular adult books, I will make a stop at the children's section to see what's new. If the easy readers have beautiful artwork I will check even those out.

BTW, I recently discovered your blog and I must say it's great. I too love to read and knit (mostly knitted dolls and doll clothes, baby items and socks).

Nadege Armour
[email protected]

Jill Pettis

Our stories are so similar except that I was a little American girl in the Midwest! So much of my childhood centered on reading and what an unexpected benefit to having children...finally an excuse to buy more children's books!! I also have a large collection and we go to every library sale and get a lot here. Sadly, so many of the good books from our childhood are being culled from libraries now and I'm not a big fan of contemporary young adult fiction. So I buy up the good ones and they are here for my kids (and me) to read. Thank you so much for your wonderful blog!


What a wonderful post! I'm am book-aholic, and have been an omivorous reading since I was small child. Books were the best Christmas gifts. I wish I still had some of my childhood books, but sadly I don't, they'd been stored in an attic that got damp and they had to be tossed *SIGH* But I remember having all the Beatrix Potter books and loving those little palm-sized things.It was the Little House on the Pairie series as I got older and began to love words/books even more as understand of the world grew. In my early teens I fell in love with Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables, and love to re-read that series to this day. I don't have children, but I'm an aunt to two lovely nieces and a new nephew and it is a joy to be able to get books for them and help in their love of books/reading.


Enid Blyton, Beatrix Potter, all the Swallows and Amazons books, Little Women series, Pollyanna, anything by Roald Dahl, Pippi Longstocking. I'm loving reading all these to my boys.

Raj's collection looks just like my son's, with all the Enid Blytons lined up.

Great post.


Oh Simmy! You have quite a wonderful collection of books there. Many of the titles (and authors) over there in the UK are not available here and are new to me. I'm just drooling over the illustrations!! I enjoyed hearing your childhood memories...cute picture of you too! I have lots of favorite books, I couldn't even begin to name them all, but I have another recommendation for you...we're currently reading a contemporary story right now, written by Katherine Hannigan, called, "IDA B...and her plans to maximize fun, avoid disaster, and (possibly) save the world." It's beautifully written, and told in first person by 9-year-old Ida B herself. In a nutshell: wonderful!


I just discovered your blog and i love this post on books! You and your children have a awesome collection! I loved to read as child also. Loved nancy drew and hardy boys, but I think my fav books were biographys. Especially those set back in civil war times. Oh and I still love civil war stories! I would rather read childrens books than grown up books! LOL! Thanks for sharing your collection. I'm pea green with envy :)


What a beautiful tribute to reading! Reading was so important to me as a child. I still remember my big sister walking me up the street every Wednesday so that we could go to the extension branch of a library near our home. She bought me my first book too; it was a simple book called "Tip."

When I was a child I LOVED the Ramona series by Beverly Cleary. I had a not-so-great home life, and I loved reading about Ramona's adventures and knowing that her family loved her no matter how "bad" she was. Squeezing out an entire tube of toothpaste...lol.


I have no brothers and sisters and have been a bookworm all my life.
I liked the Laura Ingalls books, Pippi Longstocking, Peter Rabbit, my Martine (by Marcel Marlier) books, my Disney story books and many, many others.
Later on I discovered David Copperfield and Jane Eyre and the hobbits and many more fabulous characters!


Oh my goodness! We are two peas in a pod, I tell ya!! I am obsessed with children's books (for the same reasons....childhood love of reading and my parents' lack of a huge appreciation of book hoarding).

Even today I have my own, personal collection of children's books that I keep separate from the kid's books. I have a real soft spot for books whose main characters are dolls/toys who are alive. Raggedy Ann & Andy, The Velveteen Rabbit, Jane Hissey's stories, Winnie the Pooh, etc.

Right now I'm reading Memoirs of a London Doll by Richard Horne.


well as usual I'm a few days late reading this, but funny yesterday I cleaned off my main bookshelves which were 2 rows deep on every shelf and got rid of almost 75 books. I took them to our recycling center library and the only thing I brought home were 3 children's books.
I don't know if I had a favorite book. My father brought home many books from his travels and so I loved to read about different places and folk tales at an early age. I loved the story of Ping, and the Angus books by Marjorie Flack, almost all Robert McCloskey's books especially Blueberries for Sal. I loved Dr Suess books, Cat in the Hat and Cat in the Hat comes back and later on children's classics like Through the Looking Glass , the Arabian Nights and Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tales. I also loved EB Whites Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little. When Naomi was born I fell in love with William Stieg ,I've never read one that I didn't like and have held on to all of them. My favorites are The Amazing Bone, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, Rotten Island, Amos and Boris and Dr DeSoto. I was lucky to have parents that loved books and I always looked forward to birthdays and holidays when I would always get at least one from my father.


One thing I see in common with all these books mentioned is the type of childhood the main characters had--full of play, adventure, outdoors--incredible role models for the readers. I get discouraged at the books my daughter is drawn too--anything fantasy. Over the years, I have read my old favorites out loud in an effort to bring these wonderful old stories to my children. You have renewed my interest in doing this, and I plan to do even more out loud reading through the summer. I think I'll start with the Famous Five and Anne of Green Gables. I know I'll enjoy it too.



Thank you for such a lovely post Simmy. I love reading and think that I manage to read even more books now than I did when I was a child.

I remember going to the library each week and always wanting to borrow Beatrix Potter - my favourite was The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle and I was disappointed if it was not on the shelf! I went on to read other childhood favourites, including the Swallows & Amazons series, Little Women, Ballet Shoes and the Famous Five. My parents didn't approve of much television and we mostly watched the BBC, but I did manage to get away with Enid Blyton, as it was considered relatively harmless!


Nancy Thomas

Wow! Thank you for this bog.
You just reminded me what life is really about. I grew up in a very large family in the west of Ireland, my family never had much money so I never had any books at home, except for the war books my dad loved to read,and an old pocket atlas he kept in his suitcase that he would take out whenever he chose to share his travel stories with us.
His stories and that atlas brought me to every corner of the world.
School life was difficult,our teacher was a cruel woman, who didn't think twice about hitting us for not being able to read,so asking her for help was not an option,for this reason I was about 6 or 7 when I was finally able to read my first and favourite storybook. "The Princess and the Pea." It was the ladybird edition. Believe it or not I was inspired to read it by the teacher who on rare ocasions would delight in reading to us. Once a week she would take an hour to carefully go from page to page spilling the story as she went and indulging us in every picture. These are some of my favourite memories.As I read your post I was taken back to my childhood, sitting in the corner of the classroom,surrounded by someone elses dreams and at the same time building my own. Thank you helping me remember

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