My son asked me the other day if I remembered when I read a particular book, and I said “Of course, I read it when I was nine.” I remember being in fourth grade and crying through the entire final chapters. He then asked me if I thought he would remember reading some of his favorite books when I’m age, and I laughed. “Of course,” I replied. “You never forget the first time you read your favorite books.”
So here are five titles that remind me of elementary school. I’d love to know what your elementary booklist includes.
2. “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret” by Judy Blume: I know, how cliche, right? But I was an early bloomer (to put it mildly — I’m pretty sure Mami bought my first training bra when I was in fourth grade, and a year later I was already dealing with a period), and this book helped me deal with the unexpectedly early development with a heavy dose of humor. Being a young pubescent girl is so hard. I am so glad that my own daughter doesn’t seem like she’ll be dealing with these issues quite as early as I did.
3. Ramona Quimby series by Beverly Cleary: My sister introduced me to the Ramona books (and read several of them to me), and I couldn’t get enough of them. Ramona cracked me up and was much more adventurous than I ever was in early elementary school. Many other series try to duplicate the Ramona model, and although I tolerate them for my daughter’s sake, no curious little fictional girl can touch the hilarity of Ramona herself.
4. “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott: I love books about sisters, probably because I’m so close to my own. The story of the March girls was such a joy to inhabit. I cried, I laughed, and I felt connected to every one of the sisters, but especially Jo and her ambition, her need to be strong and useful and brave in a way I couldn’t put into words when I read it. I can’t wait to reread “Little Women” with my girl, even though she sadly doesn’t have any sisters.
5. “The Witch of Blackboard Pond” by Elizabeth George Speare: My sister, who is 12 years older than I am, actually encouraged my stepsister, who’s five years older, to read it when I was in fourth grade and my stepsister was in eigth, but I wasn’t going to let her be the only one who got to read it. I swiped it after my stepsister and was transfixed by the colonial setting, the idea that women could be considered witches and that friendship could be taboo. What a great read.