Favorite Childhood Stories – Karen Dewhirst

To celebrate National Reading Month, we’re asking some of our staff to talk about some of their favorite books growing up as a kid and the impact they made on them. This week’s entry is from Karen Dewhirst, our Museum Experience Manager – Science and Exhibits.

Blueberries_for_SalBlueberries for Sal by Robert McClosky

Sal is picking wild blueberries with her mother and eating more than she put in her bucket (who hasn’t done that?). When she wanders away from her mother she meets a bear cub who has done the same thing; wandered away from its mother intent on enjoying ripe blueberries warmed by the sun. I loved that she wasn’t afraid of the bear cub and that kids, bear cubs, and other young creatures have a lot in common. I also loved that the illustrations are in blue ink, because everyone who has ever picked blueberries has telltale blue fingers to show for it. I wonder if I love to eat and grow blueberries because of this book?

The Little House.jpgThe Little House by Virginia Lee Burton

The Little House is the story of a little country house that is loved and cherished by her family. The little house is happy and glad to care for her family. However, over time, the family moves away and the city encroaches all around the little house. She becomes sad, and dirty and neglected with no one to love her. Until another young family comes along and moves her out to the country again and fix her up. To this day, when I look at homes, I can see their faces and their personalities and have a desire to fix them up to their original glory.

Ping.jpgPing by Marjorie Flack

Ping is a domesticated duck that lives with his many brothers and sisters on a boat in the Yangtze River. He is always the last one to get back on the boat at the end of the day and gets a spank on the back from his master. One day, Ping decides he will explore some more instead of being last again and getting a spank. He discovers that even though the world is exciting and full of adventure, a spank is a small price to pay for the comfort and companionship of home. For a kid living in suburbian Michigan, this was a very exotic book. It made we want to see the unusual boats and the different people who lived on those boats (I actually ended up living on a boat for a time myself!). I loved Ping’s adventurous nature, his bravery for striking out on his own and respected him for coming to the revelation that family is most important thing.


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