Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Thankful for These Children's Classics


This time of year, we focus on what we can be thankful for, like our family and friends and our health. One of the other things we writers might be thankful for is the books we grew up with. Some, like myself, may have been inspired by these books to begin a writing career of their own. Today, I would like to share three classic children's series for which I am thankful. 

A little girl grew up in the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Her pa had itchy feet, and he didn’t like how crowded the Big Woods had become, so the family—which comprised Pa, Ma, and three little girls—rode west in a covered wagon and started over. There were many more trips by covered wagon until one day Pa settled in Dakota Territory. 

The girl, now a young woman, met a dashing farmer, got married, and had a baby. When her baby had grown into a toddler, the young woman said goodbye to her Ma and Pa and made another trip by covered wagon to the Ozarks, where she and her husband built a house and watched their daughter mature into adulthood.

Their daughter became a famous writer and kept pestering her mother to write the stories of her childhood. When she finally wrote those stories and submitted them to a publisher, despite America being hit by the Stock Market Crash of 1929, the editor knew she held in her hands, "the book that no depression could stop." Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder became an overnight success. The Little House series went on to include eight books, with the final one published after Wilder's death.

This next writer, known as Maud to her friends and family, is most famous for writing about a red-headed orphan girl who gets adopted by an elderly brother and sister living on Prince Edward Island.

Born in 1874, her mother died when Maud was only a toddler. So, her father sent her to live with her maternal grandparents. She created imaginary worlds and friends to cope with the loneliness. She furthered her education after grade school and earned a teaching certificate. Anne of Green Gables, the first book featuring Anne spelled with an “e” Shirley, was published in 1908. Lucy Maud Montgomery published twenty novels and hundreds of short stories and poems in her lifetime, many of them set on Prince Edward Island. She also published an autobiography titled, The Alpine Path: The Story of My Career, and a book of poetry. 

Born in Pennsylvania, this famous writer spent most of her years growing up in Boston and Concord, Massachusetts. Educated by her father and by family friends, she became a supporter of women’s rights, temperance, and abolition thanks to her mother’s influence. She had three sisters: Anna, Elizabeth, and May.

While she started her career writing poetry and short stories for magazines, she soon published two novels for adults. It would, however, be the book about four sisters growing up in New England during the Civil War that brought her the most recognition.

Based upon growing up at Orchard House in Concord, Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women at the request of a Boston publisher looking for a book for young girls. Its brilliant success prompted the publisher to request a second volume, which became known as Little Men. She completed the trilogy with Jo’s Boys. Alcott published over thirty books and short story collections before her death in 1888.

Interestingly enough, all three of these writers used their life experiences to influence their fiction. These stories have been brought to life in television and move adaptations, and their books continue to gain new fans. 

Have you read any of these classics? Which classic children's book is your favorite? Did reading inspire your writing career? 

Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of four children’s books including, A Christmas Kindness, released by 4RV Publishing. A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married. Visit Cheryl online at http://ccmalandrinos.com and her children’s book blog at https://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com