Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ―
Greetings, Gentle Readers!
This month is all about reading…specifically Your favorite book as a child/kid/teenager…
Let me get my docent hat on and begin to tell you all about The Reading Life of Kat!
This week there was great debate over what book was my actual favorite… there are oodles. Truly. Oodles. Do I talk about Laura Ingalls Wilders Little House Books? Or maybe Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series? Those were absolutely beloved books of my youth. Deeply beloved. Or maybe I should talk about E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, or Stuart Little, or The Trumpet of the Swan… yep, deeply loved one and all. Or perhaps John Peterson’s The Little’s series… gosh, I loved them as well!
And so the Favorite Book Debate began… and while I loved every book mentioned above, none of those are what I am going to talk to you about today.
This exhibit has one book with some absolutely magnificent characters. It is a story of survival, over-coming loneliness, and so much more.
Scott O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins was a “turning point” book for me as I was growing up and it is a book that has stayed with me all these years later.
I am pretty sure that I had no idea what a Caldecott Medal winning book meant back then, but yes… it is absolutely an award winner. It was published the year I was born in 1960… which I don’t think I realized either when I first read it.
I clearly remember getting this book from the library for a Summer Reading Contest. It was a time when I was living at my grandparents house and I can remember laying in bed reading it late into the night (at least for a 10 year old girl!) Karana was a true heroine… a survivor… smart and capable. And who can forget Rontu, Tainor, Lurai, Mon-a-nee, and Rontu-aru! Karana overcame adversity, made friends with her enemy, and survived for eighteen years…alone…which to 10-year-old-me seemed like an eternity!
I remember having long conversations with my grandparents, describing to them life for Karana on her island. My grandpa was decidedly more interested than my nana was and he and I imagined how we might survive if we were stranded somewhere! But my grandpa’s favorite part was her befriending birds… such a smart choice!
I spent lots of time “being Karana” as a child… I desperately wanted to get a dog I could name Rontu. (I eventually got a dog, who got named Mitzi) And there were plenty of times as a child when I imagined being “left” permanently at my grandparents house (which did finally happen but not until I was a sophomore in high school).
Beyond my 10 year old self, this is a book I have read again too many times to count… and in each reading, it loses nothing, but rather, with each time I have read it I have gained new insights… it is absolutely a book that is a patient teacher!
If you have not read Island of the Blue Dolphins, today I would encourage you to do so! And if you’d like to take home a copy of the book, you will find one in the Museum’s Gift Shop! (Haha, yes that is my Amazon link)
Thank you so much for stopping by today and visiting this Museum of Me exhibit! A big thanks to Kym for all her work on this (and for the gorgeous new image!)
I wish you a great weekend from a house that at long last has a sofa! See you all back here on Monday!
Oh, Kat! I almost wrote about my love for Island of the Blue Dolphins today, too! It was such a beloved book for me, as well. It’s nearly impossible to choose just one “favorite” — especially when reading was such an important part of our growing up years. Just reading your post today makes me re-live the absolute magic of Island of the Blue Dolphins again. Thank you! XO
Hurrah for the sofa and many happy hours reading on it. I’d not heard of the book you mentioned, I’m torn between the First proper book I read which was The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton which I adored. Who doesn’t want to climb a tree to a magic land? Or my favourite book when I was a bit older – The Railway Children by E. Nesbit , because I could wave at steam trains as a child and I would have been totally devastated if My Daddy was in the position the children’s father was. That line of “Oh my Daddy, my Daddy” still makes me a bit weepy.
Yay on the sofa front. You know, I don’t know if I ever red this book or not…I may need to check it out of my library. As I wrote on Bonny’s blog, my favorite books growing up (quite young) were the animal stories by Thornton Burgess. My parents read them to me and then, when I was able to read on my own, I read them over and over again. We had so many of the – Sammy Jay, Old Mother West Wind, Chatterer the Squirrel, etc. I still have some and Colin loved having them read to him when he was a toddler.
I don’t remember much about the book, but I do remember loving it! I think I went through a whole Scott O’Dell phase in about fourth grade. I wish I had kept a record of the books I read back then so I could go back and rediscover them now!
Did you ever read the Misty of Chincoteague books? Those were among my favorites for a while, too.
What a wonderful exhibit! I don’t know how I missed Island of the Blue Dolphins as a child, but I didn’t read it until Ryan had to read it in third grade. And you’re right, it is a magical book. It sounds like this is a book that you found at the right time in your life, and was just what you needed to read. (Maybe it found you?) I now have Island of the Blue Dolphins on my ipod and will be listening to it today. I’m glad you can now read on your sofa!
The Island of Blue Dolphins sound like a wonderful book! I missed out on it when I was growing up, but I think I would enjoy it now!
I know I’ve read that book yet I do not remember it! Your love and experience with the book has me heading to the library to give it a new look!
Well, I was just saying that Elsa and I need a new nighttime chapter book. Maybe this should be it?! And I love when you share about your grandfather. What an inspiring, influential man–and such a lucky granddaughter. I was closer to both of my grandmothers than to either of my grandfathers. So it feels uniquely special to hear your stories.
I also loved Island of the Blue Dolphins! I was captivated by Karana’s story and spent so much time imagining what it would be like for me. Scary and lonely, for sure. And how lucky were you to have such an engaging grandfather? It’s no wonder that you have such lovely memories of him. ❤️
Oh yes, Island of the Blue Dolphins! And Stuart Little – I adored that one. And I’m also remembering the series The Borrowers. It was definitely a hard choice to make this month. Thanks for sharing your childhood reading memories with us.
I have not read that book but I think it is in the collection of children’s books I have in the guest bedroom. I need to read it 🙂
I love these posts so much! What a lovely story about how a book made such an impact on you … and that’s a book I haven’t read!
Oh man, I can see how it would be hard to choose just one favorite book from childhood. I spent my summer’s reading but I never did read this one. I’ll have to fix that. What a nice post.