Tag Archives: Nancy Drew

My childhood literature

After writing about what got my two sons reading, I started thinking about the books that I read as a child. I have no idea what my parents read to me. But I do remember some of what I read myself. Getting a book for x-mas or b-days was a gift highlight. Usually we got practical gifts, but every once in a while someone found it in their hearts to give a book-hungry child just that. Even way back then I was addicted.

My parents had books from their own childhood that I got to read. These were everything from Jules Verne and Rudyard Kipling to the Bobsey Twins. My heroes were Pippi Langstrømpe (Longstocking) and Nancy Drew. If I wanted to read something comforting and cozy, I would choose animal stories or Norway’s own Anne Cath. Vestly. Her books are wonderful for children, describing life as it is without sugar-coating anything.

If I wanted to be frightened, I would read folk tales. The Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen were favorites. I would sneak read HCA because my parents had a lovely leather-bound edition of his tales, and we were not allowed to touch it without permission. Folk tales are gory, explicit and seldom “happily ever after”. Horror for children and adults would probably be an appropriate category to place them in.

Sometimes I tried to read the books my parents liked, but they weren’t all that interesting for a child. Madame Bovary and I Saw Him Die just didn’t appeal to me the same way Jungle Boy did.

There were many important lessons reading taught me. One was that it was OK to read a book twice. Nature was fascinating. Reading the end before I had finished the whole book was also just fine (no lightning strikes). If life got to be too much, a book would lighten the load. Subject matter, complexity or level did not matter. Help was to be found for a lonely little girl. No wonder I love books so much.

Keene, Carolyn: Nancy Drew

Nancy Drew: Out of This World by sunni-sideup

My son was about 8 when I started reading our old Nancy Drew books to him. Keene’s books were a great help in getting him to a point where he started reading himself. Being dyslexic, this was not an easy point for him to get to.

Our Nancy Drew books were from the 1950’s and on. Part of the appeal laid in the formal language (the way we used to talk here in Norway) and in the fact that a lot of our books had belonged to his grandparents. In addition, the plots are simple and the characters never change. Nancy is always around 16-18, Ned is her boyfriend and George and Bess her best friends. This never-changing world made it easier for him to stay tuned to what was going on.

I think he was about 11/12 when he finished his first Nancy Drew. Since then, he finished all of the ones that we had and went on to other literary adventures.

So, a big THANK YOU to all of the Carolyn Keene authors. You have made a huge contribution in helping a boy with dyslexia learn to love reading.