A week to make you crawl into your childhood.

This has been a week to really lay a person flat. I have hit a new low in enthusiasm for the things that govern our world. As I don’t really want politics to enter my blogging world (of books, tea and coffee, puppies and flowers, stationary and friends) I will not say how disturbed I am about the recent events in the USA. Most of you know how it feels anyway.

Although I now live in Australia, I grew up in a small town (pop. 5000 maybe) in the state of Michigan in the USA. Farm country midwest.

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The Grand Ledge Public Library, Michigan, USA 1950’s

I was remembering what I used to do as a child when the life I had got to be too much. I used to escape the yelling, the boredom, the alcohol fuelled nonsense by going to the little library that was in my town. It was only one block away. This was in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The librarians were the stereotypical ones who wore their glasses like a bat might, flying out of a cave looking for food. They only knew one word and that was “Shush!”. They used it often. They never showed us anything about where the books were.  When one had read everything in the children’s section it would not occur to them that some in the adult section would be great for the older, intelligent child. 

Censorship was rife in those days. It was okay to read Grimm’s with children being eaten by witches or wolves blowing down houses of pigs into oblivion but heaven help you if there was something good by Steinbeck or Hemingway about poverty,  love, war or angst. Violence was fine, romance wasn’t. We might stumble across the word ‘breast’ or ‘illegitimate’ or ‘queer’ and ask them what it meant. I still laugh to think of it.

Anyway, I digress. I just acquired the book, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up. It begins with a section of recommended books from ‘0-3’ age range and it ends with a section for ‘Over 12’. 

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Most of what I remember of life in the library as a child was it was cool in summer. It was quiet and no one bothered you. I spent a lot of time looking through those 3D cards in the little gizmo you hold with your hand and look through at the double postcard to see history in 3D. (I know they have a name but I admit I don’t know what they were called). I guess it was early technology. I know you could sit in a corner on the carpet and read for a long time and no one knew where you were or ever thought to look for you there. But if you got into trouble for being gone so long you had a witness to your afternoon of silence. The bats.

I have wanted a complete week of silence this week. Just to mull over what a Trump presidency will be like with Newt Gingrich in the Secretary of State position and a possible Sarah Palin as head of Interior Development. I can more likely believe in the Yeti or the Abominable Snowman than believe that scenario. Anyway, I digress again. I told you my mind is shot.

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Peanuts Cartoon by Charles Schultz

Since the TV news gives me the shivering willies lately, I have more time to get creative, write in my blog, decorate post cards. I decided as part of 2017, as well as reading more of my TBR books and book club books I will read some of the books listed in the ‘1001 Children’s Books…’

I have read many books for the under five year olds. As I worked with language delayed and disabled children we always had a lot of lessons around books. The Who, Why Where, When and How of language development never left me. I spent 35 years in this field. However, there are many books for older children I was not exposed to. There was no reason, because many of them were written in the late 1800’s and earlier 1900’s except there was no one in my life to tell me about them. My parents weren’t readers of serious things. We chose to not have children so those books were not in the house.

Thumbing through this book brought back happy memories of spending summer days in the library as a child.

It also made me realise that there were a lot of books, especially from other countries I never read. I thought I would start at the beginning of this reference book. The first books are for children 0-3. I will also find the last recommended book listed in the final section ‘Over 12′ year olds’ I am planning to work from the outer edges towards the middle of the book. I will look in our library or the internet and read them. Two books at a time should not take long.  I’ll talk about what I thought of them both and see if they take me out of 2017 .

I think it might be time to travel back to 1959. Anything for a distraction. We’ll see if it helps me cope with 2017 more than I am expecting. After all most of us would probably rather spend time with The Hungry Caterpillar than Trump. 

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