For this column, I sent out a message to JDL staff, asking about their favorite children's chapter books. I was delighted to receive more than a dozen replies! As the emails streamed in, I began to notice a trend. The librarians of my age (40+) often selected certain series, while the younger generation chose different titles. Quite naturally, the series reflect the popular authors of the times. To be fair to all generations and tastes, this column has morphed into two installments, one from the older generation and one from the younger--with a few in the middle mixed around.
Age before beauty, folks: what did we oldsters prefer? Several women mentioned Black Beauty, and Jane DeBano reminded me of my old favorite Black Stallion/Walter Farley series. Little girls and boys still love horse stories, parents, so remember those, along with Marguerite Henry's Chincoteague ponies (Misty, Stormy and Sea Star)! Karen Veramay of the Concord branch and Diana Hill of Spring Arbor both listed the Bobbsey Twins, another series I loved, one filled with mysteries the foursome always managed to solve. These have evolved and now offer a series of preschool age books, too. As we grew older, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys took up the spot the Bobbsey Twins had held. All these series are still available at JDL libraries, in both old versions and brand-new, updated stories, too.
Marcia Young, Outreach Librarian, remembers her elementary school teacher reading Carl Sandburg's Rootabaga Stories out loud to the class. She blames her love of a good pun on these stories. You may recognize them through characters' names and places, such as Gimme the Axe or the Village of Cream Puffs. These stories are fun reads for adults, too, especially as read-alouds with children. Don't let adulthood confine you to grim, gritty grownup stuff! Grab a light-hearted, fun choice and share it, too! Next week, the younger group's choices. ~Tessa Eger