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Pull Up A Chair…


Yesterday, I discovered that one of my all time favorite young adult fiction series — Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials — is being made into a movie.  The first of which, The Golden Compass, will be released this December.  I have absolutely no idea how the movie series will be, although it does look as though they are filming all three books from the series.

But I do know this:  if you have not read these novels, do so.  They are wonderful — rich in scene, in narration, and in characters that will break your heart in two and make it whole again.  From the very start of the series all the way to the end of the third book, you are pulled into a world born of Pullman's vivid imagination.  But it is his insight into the human psyche, the character and the flaws that are present in all of us, that makes this such an amazing read. 

The first time I read this series, I could not put it down.  Which, honestly, is exactly what you want in a book when you are an eleven year old — or even a 30-something who is pregnant with her first child and on strictly enforced bedrest — isn't it?

Two of my favorite books as a child — The Secret Garden and Mandy — had to do with little orphan girls who have these wonderful gardens of their own to tend, and then find wonderful families to share them with in the end.  Sappy, British kiddie lit?  Sure.  But I still love them, and still pick them up when I'm feeling mopey.  

Because of The Witch of Blackbird Pond, I've always wanted to go to Barbados.  (Haven't made it yet.)  But I also got hooked on American history through this book, and through the wonderful Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

And of course, with The Peanut, I get to relive a lot of my old favorites:  the entire A. A. Milne Adventures of Winnie The Pooh, with the original Earnest Shepherd illustrations that I adore; all of the wonderful Beatrix Potter stories;  any and everything by Dr. Seuss; and The Snowy Day, which my very favorite book as a kid.  (And I still love to read it, along with all things Eric Carle.)

And I've also found a new favorite or two — including the wonderful Olivia series.  And Miss Spider's Tea Party

As a kid, I was a voracious reader.  And I hope that The Peanut will be one as well.  I still love to read, even though my free time is quite limited these days.  The fun thing is that one of The Peanut's favorite places to go is to the bookstore.  She likes to browse as much as we do, and we hope that will translate into a lifelong love of reading for her in the years to come.

This is but a tiny, tiny snapshot of some of my favorite books as I was growing up.  I left out so many more, but I wanted to leave a lot of room for everyone else to add in some favorites in the comments.  For me, settling in with a good book is like sitting down with an old friend, you just relax into the world of the author and see where the words take you.

And with that, what were your favorite books as a kid?  Which ones do you still find yourself picking up and reading when you need a lift — or a source of comfort?  For me, it is the Little House books and Anne McCaffrey's Crystal Singer series (and my original paperback with its Michael Whelan cover is battered, but I still love it — Whelan is amazing), when I need a quick, easy comfort read, or Tolkien when I want to escape altogether.  Just like when I was a kid.

Let's talk great reading — for kids, for young adults, and for the kid in all of us.  Pull up a chair…

PS — For some great snickers this morning, Bob Geiger has the Saturday funnies up.  And they are fantastic this morning!  Thanks, Bob!

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com