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Author Topic: Children's books that helped you as a child?  (Read 3703 times)
blackandwhite
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« on: December 04, 2009, 11:10:01 AM »

What books helped you cope, learn, or find some relief when you were a child? Why?

I'm curious but also hope to be able to share ideas with the folks on the coparenting board, who have kids in their lives who are currently being raised (at least in part) by BPD parents.

One that helped me a lot was The Secret Garden, as it was about kids finding their own strengths without a lot of help from the (obviously damaged) adults in their lives.

Thanks,

B&W
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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2009, 11:16:25 AM »

Im not sure if this helped me but I remember the book, " The Boxcar Children" as a book I could relate to. Those kids had no parents if I recall and for some reason this just stuck out and I liked reading it. They found strength and cared for themselves.. maybe it made me feel less alone in some way? Im still putting together all my broken childhood memories, but this book is one I remember.
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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2009, 11:20:30 AM »

Someday Angeline.  It depicted a girl with a father who didn't know how to connect with her & how both of them try to cope with it & he finally forgives/learns how to show love & affection towards her & they're able to start building a real relationship.  One of the few books out of the many I read as a child that stands out.  

Other than that I was constantly reading.  Heck, I learned more about people through books than through people since my mother didn't want me to have friends & went out of her way to sabotage any friendship that I did have.

SC

I also read the Boxcar Children, Bobsie Twins, Nancy Drew & Hardy Boys w/ a ditto on the "found strength and cared for themselves", though that is a common thread to most of the older children's literature prior to some of the more soap-opera styled/themed newer books.
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« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2009, 11:33:43 AM »

The Secret Garden was a good one for me too.

When I was very young (6-10 years) I read the Babysitters Club books.  There was a character in the book whose parents are divorced and I clearly remember reading passages about her parents efforts to maintain civility for the kids.  It was this series of books that taught me kids should be left out of parents' problems and it is the reason I was able to reject my mother's pressure to harrass my father when she was angry with him.

I also read a lot of Danielle Steele books.  I know, I know...sappy and corny.  But I loved them at the time.  They were always about strong women overcoming adversity, and some of them were specifically about women who had survived abusive childhoods.  These books gave me strength.  I would tell myself that surely I could not only survive, but be successful, because it could be worse (like the characters in the books).  And those characters had dealt with their problems with such grace - I aspired to be like them, a strong woman who wouldn't let anything beat her down. 

 

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« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2009, 06:40:13 PM »

I read a LOT. Was one means of escape. My genre of choice was fantasy, but there were several mainstream ones too.

Secret Garden was good. I liked Someday Angeline as well. One I read over and over was My side of the Mountain because it had a kid going off to survive on his own and I wished I could do that too. Gary Paulsen's books, especially Hatchet were in a similar vein, kid surviving in the wilderness against the odds. Those are good boy books.

And if you aim them, especially the girls, toward Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series, they'll eat them up. Big white horses coming to be the One True Friend of the Chosen One. Total wish fulfillment, but it hits all the right buttons for those that long for that one person/creature that will understand them and be with them no matter what.

Narnia books. Where the Red Fern Grows was good, but it always made me cry. Jane Yolen's Dragon's Blood and Heart's Blood are lovely books. Boy steals a dragon egg and raises dragon in secret to free himself from bondage. Brian Jacques's Redwall series; very popular with forest animals as main characters and all kinds of fun adventures. And if you can get the audio of these (like at a library) they're AWESOME, because they have a full cast instead of a single narrator and they actually sing the songs and stuff that are in the books. Fun series.

And there are quite a few young adult authors writing dysfunctional family books. Julie Ann Peters comes to mind; I've read several of her books, and they generally have dysfunctional families and the stories end realistically, not with the happy ever after parents magically reunite with their kids. Justine Larbalestier has some well-received teen books; notably Liar and How to Ditch Your Fairy. Her hubby Scott Westerfield and buddy Maureen Johnson also write good YA.

Oh, and one of my favorites lately is John Flanagan's series, Ranger's Apprentice. Really, really good fantasy books with a kid who has no family and is apprenticed to a ranger and eventually ends up saving the kingdom. Great series for boys and girls. Good battle scenes. Good coming of age stuff.

I could go on since I hang out with a lot of writers . . . but I think that's enough for now . . .
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poodlemom
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« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2009, 09:04:56 PM »

Im not sure if this helped me but I remember the book, " The Boxcar Children" as a book I could relate to. Those kids had no parents if I recall and for some reason this just stuck out and I liked reading it. They found strength and cared for themselves.. maybe it made me feel less alone in some way? Im still putting together all my broken childhood memories, but this book is one I remember.
I loved those books!  My 6th grade teacher used to read them to us after recess...they were awesome!
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poodlemom
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« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2009, 09:08:21 PM »

'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn', and 'To Kill a Mockingbird'.
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« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2009, 11:55:46 PM »

Narnia books. Where the Red Fern Grows was good, but it always made me cry. Jane Yolen's Dragon's Blood and Heart's Blood are lovely books. Boy steals a dragon egg and raises dragon in secret to free himself from bondage. Brian Jacques's Redwall series; very popular with forest animals as main characters and all kinds of fun adventures.
I used to read a lot too! I loved it- I had the best fantasies as a kid, stumbling across some hidden world if I just looked in the right place! Helped me cope. Some of my favorite books also were books that involved magic and adventure. Jane Yolen also had a book about a dragon named Pearl who came in and rescued a young boy who was being abused. I loved that one!...but I can't remember the title.
For YA I'd recommend Neil Gaim's Neverwhere and for really young readers I'd recommend Coraline but it strikes a little too close to home (with the two identical mothers, but one's a witch with button eyes and a passion for hurting kids) sometimes. I watched the movie with my boyfriend and was really reminded of my uBPDsis and dBPDmom.
...and I hate to say this but the first book Twilight by Stephanie Meyers isn't bad.
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« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2009, 12:38:29 AM »

'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn', and 'To Kill a Mockingbird'.

I loved both of these books.  One of the things I remember about A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is that the children were allowed to have their coffee and do what they wanted with it.  They could drink it waist it, throw it away...because it was their coffee.  To Kill a Mockingbird is still one of my favorite books of all.  Reading the list makes me want to go back and read them again.
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« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2009, 01:22:08 AM »

I read everything I could get my hands on as a child, because escape into some other fantasy world was preferable to the one that I lived in.
I don't know that I would have read anything too real about dealing with abuse or a mentally ill addicted parent.
I lived with one.
I knew everything there was to know about it, I didn't have any support and when I did come across books like this I quite often found them to be patronizing.
I'm not sure why, I think its because the adults in the books often seemed to be trying to explain things to the kids instead of asking them what they thought and what they wanted and how they saw things.  I found them a little off.

Honestly?
I liked books where there was some nice family in there so I could pretend that I belonged to them.
I read a lot of pony books and adventure stories (not Enid Blighton, didn't like them for some reason) and mysteries.
I inherited my cousins' 'Trixie Belden Mysteries' and now that I think about that, Trixie had a nice family but she had friends who were rich but who struggled with vapid, vacant, or waif like mothers, who were often 'absent' and didn't take a lot of interest in their daughters. 
If any of you read them, you might remember Honey Wheeler.  I read at least 37 of those books and I can't remember a single interaction between Honey and her mother.

Books, movies and TV series that dealt with a scary character were things that I avoided like the plague.
I had enough of that at home.

My vote goes for escapism and children in stories who are independent and resourceful and can find their own friends and solve their own problems.
I guess because my FOO did so much to isolate me from social support, I felt like I had friends inside my books and I could slink off to their normal and happy existence and get away from the morons.  Which is pretty much what I did when I became an adult, went to counseling, and started down the path to a healthy and sane life.

I've heard a lot of people say that stories like Alice in Wonder Land and The Wizard of Oz helped them when they were little but me?
Nope.  They gave me screaming nightmares.
Books were my haven.  I think if you put the nightmare BPD characters in there, they'd have contaminated what books were for me.
Blessed peace, sanity, and escape from the madness into some sort of pleasant normality where people could actually be nice to each other and no monsters lurked in the alleys.
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« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2009, 01:23:16 AM »

Pippi Longstocking!
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Greeneyed Girl
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« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2009, 02:52:37 AM »

Oh, books! My favorite escape! Couldn't go to sleep until I replied to this one, though we have had similar threads before ( I always love the book threads) I loved "A Little Princess".  I read it over and over, acted scenes out in my room and with my Barbie dolls.  I still appreciate it today and still it moves me.  Also I loved "Anne of Green Gables."  I remember Anne's unorthodox prayer, "...And please God, let me be good-looking when I grow up" as this was my own prayer! I liked Judy Blume, feeling terribly sorry for Blubber and identifying with Margaret in "Are you there, God? It's me, Margaret."  Again, my prayers were like Margaret's as well as Anne's and I remember waiting for that great event- the monthly blessing which, in my case, turned out to be a curse but that is another thread!  Also loved "Little House" as I wished my family was so loving. I must mention "Jane Eyre" as the Lowood school horrors moved me to tears and Jane's defiance, despite the results, moved me to cheers.  And a "Tree Grows In Brooklyn"?  I think I kept it out of the school library more than any other student.  I envied Johnny and Francie's relationship and am still angry at Katie's cold favortism for Neely. I could go on all night, but I will close and let someone else share.  Great topic, my friends.
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« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2009, 12:53:23 PM »

I still love to read, it's absolutely one of my favorite things!  What's crazy though, is that now I LOVE books by 'true crime' writers.  I guess it's because I'm so fascinated by the psychopathology of these, seemingly, normal middle class people who commit these crimes.  I read them and think "yeah, no one really truly knows what goes on behind closed doors do they?"  I especially enjoy the history they give of the growing up years of the perpetrators.  I guess, because of mother, I just really try to figure out what makes certain people tick and why they do the things they do... ?
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« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2009, 02:14:00 PM »

Interesting question!  I, too, was a huge reader as a child (and as an adult). 

Books I loved in elementary school:
"Mrs Piggle-Wiggle" (naughty children, inept parents and the incomparable Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle)
"No Flying in the House" (orphaned little girl, magical cat, dreadful relatives, fairy tale ending)
The "Little House" books (headstrong girl, compliant older sister, frontier setting)
"Ramona" books by Beverly Cleary (naughty little girl)
"Great Brain" books by John D. Fitzgerald (naughty boy and his siblings in 19th century America)
"Grimm's Fairy Tales"

I'm beginning to see a pattern among my picks featuring naughty children...
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« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2009, 02:36:44 PM »

When I was younger - all the Babysitter's Club books.  I would read them one after another, over and over and over - I had 100 of them. 

"Anastasia, Ask your Analyst" by Lois Lowry - about a girl who gets a plaster bust of Freud and talks to it about her problems - I wanted a Freud to deal with my family drama!
http://www.amazon.com/Anastasia-your-Analyst-Lois-Lowry/dp/0440402891

"Are you there God, It's me, Margaret" of course.  Thank god for that book, so full of information!  That was all us teenage girls had, back before the internet!

As a teenager I read "The Mists of Avalon" by Marion Zimmer Bradley over and over.  It is quite a long tome - 900 pages!  I would just read it to get lost in it and felt comforted that it was so long.  It is the Arthurian legend told from the viewpoint of the females behind the throne.
http://www.amazon.com/Mists-Avalon-Marion-Zimmer-Bradley/dp/0345441184/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1260045286&sr=1-1
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« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2009, 06:07:26 PM »

I loved the Babysitter's Club books because I felt that they (and eventually Sassy magazine as well), taught me how to be a girl.

My other favorites were Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon (orphan fantasy + girl becomes writer), Pippi Longstocking (orphan fantasy), Ronia the Robber's daughter (escapist forest fantasy), A Little Princess (orphan fantasy + defeat the evil mother figure + civil disobedience), retellings of any fairy tale with an evil stepmother who was not forgiven in the end, The Hero and the Crown (misunderstood awkward princess slays dragons, becomes hero, and has TWO boyfriends  shocked), and A Long Way from Verona  (snarky 12-year-old aspiring writer girl in England during WWII). I also loved The Changeling by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (girl from dysfunctional and poor family convinces herself she's a changeling and eventually moves away to become a dancer), and Gone-Away Lake (kids in the 1950's discover an abandoned resort town on a drained lake where two kindly old people who were children about 60 years earlier live--escapist adoption/idyllic nature fantasy). I guess all my favorites involved orphans, girl-overcomes-difficult-past, main-character-becomes-artist, and/or idyllic nature. Hmm...

This is off-topic, but this also reminded me of Little Women, which I generally liked a lot but I hated the part where Amy burns Jo's writings out of spite and is forgiven--it reminded me too much of ensis being groomed as mother's proxy to do similar things. On the same subject of quality-books-primarily-aimed-at-girls, there was another one called Adopted Jane about an orphanage-raised girl who has a chance to live with two families over the course of a summer. Mother loved this book, and I did too when I was younger, but I realized recently that the heroine does a lot of somewhat abusive self-talk that mother always upheld as an ideal to which I should aspire. Weird...
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« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2009, 09:03:39 PM »

Call of the Wild-I loved the strength and the ability to overcome anything
The Little Prince-the section about how to tame something was very interesting to me.
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« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2009, 10:32:49 PM »

I read the Babysitter's club books too, couldn't touch horror or dark thrillers as a kid, I had too many nightmares in general to deal with additional ones. & as a semi-amusing side note, last night I had a nightmare about having to find a Nancy Drew book LOL.

I also liked the Encyclopedia Brown books ^_^

SC
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« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2009, 10:41:56 PM »

The only book I remember that might have helped me in my early youth was Laura Ingalls Wilder's 'Little House on the Prairie'. It probably attracted me because she had a loving family.
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« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2009, 11:00:10 PM »

I'm a little surprised that no one has said Matilda (Roald Dahl) yet! the movie with Danny Devito popularized the story, but the book is a bit different, as they usually are.

She's naughty, but her parents are ogres (not real ogres). To combat the mean adults in her life, she has magical powers that help her right the wrongs of the adults, or at least make them more bearable. Once she finds a save haven, the powers diminish.

Reading was and is my all time favorite hobby, for escapism and learning. (You'd think I would have a better handle on writing!)
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