Inside a Box Labeled “Kids’ Books”

At the bottom of my closet in the new house was a box labeled “Kids’ Books”. I packed this box two moves ago; my parents moved earlier this month to a house two blocks away from our condo. I didn’t have enough room in the condo to unpack this box and put away it’s contents. Two years later, I couldn’t exactly remember what books I had packed away in this book. I opened it in the hopes of finding my copy of Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater, an absolute favorite book from my childhood. No such luck.

But I did find a lot of childhood favorites for my brother and I. Some of them I hope to revisit in the future while others will join the cache of toys, blankets, and books my mom has stored in the attic for her future grandchildren. (No joke. I just turned twenty last month and she’s already planning for when grandchildren come to visit.)

The first books I pulled out of the box were my collection of American Girl books. I actually only own the complete collection for Kristen (the box set towards the bottom of the photo on the left); my boxed collection of short stories is now incomplete with addition of Kaya, Rebecca, and Julie. I purchased many of these books from used book sales at libraries in the Dallas-Fort Worth area although the box set of Kristen’s books were a gift from my parents when I received the doll. I used to read these books over and over again and was very upset to learn about Samantha (and now apparently Kristen) being pulled from the shelves.

The photo on the right shows my collection of books from the Little House series. The box set of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder was also a gift from parents and, as you can see, have been reread so many times that the spines are falling apart. In fact, my copy of Little House in the Big Woods is no longer green; it has faded into a teal color on the spine. The books at the top of the pile are the complete collection of books about Laura’s daughter, Rose, written by Roger Lea MacBride. The book at the bottom is about Laura’s mother, Caroline, entitled Little City by the Lake by Celia Wilkins, which I have actually never read.

This third stack were all gifts from my parents, including two books by Shel Silverstein, Linnea in Monet’s Garden by Christina Bjork and Lena Anderson, and a book from the 1950s about a little girl named Eloise who lives in the “room on the tippy-top floor” of the Plaza Hotel in New York City. I once went to the Plaza to meet Eloise when I was six or seven years old, but was sorely disappointed when I was told she was out for the evening. The final book in the stack seems to actually be pretty controversial on GoodReads but includes a poem my parents and I continue to resit to one another:

“I’ll love you forever; I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby/mommy you’ll be.”

This final stack is of my brother’s favorites; the second to last book in the pile is actually a personalized book for him. I’m sure my mom read me Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny, and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?. But when I see these titles, I immediately associate them with my brother. My mom reading these books to him and his laughter as a result is just so ingrained in my memories that these books are his.

Some of these books are going to boxed up for future generations, but I plan to keep several of them out and revisit them in the future. Now the question is where to put them as I have no room on my shelves!

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