A Two for Tuesday Prompt #2


This Two for Tuesday tag prompt is the brainchild of Rae (Theeducatednegra.blog, whose tag line I love: If you’re colorblind, you’ll miss the rainbow.) who introduced it last month in her Rae’s Reads and Reviews. Thank you for the nudge, Rae.

This week her prompt is: Two books that helped you fall in love with reading.

Easy peasy.

Let’s go back in time. I was very young, probably eight, maybe ten.  Let’s say nine and move on.

My first book is memorable because in one summer I read it fifteen times.


Justin Morgan Had A Horse was written and illustrated by the same duo that brought us, a few years later the more famous (unfortunately) Misty of Chincoteague: Marguerite Henry and Wesley Dennis. It was first published in 1945, which means it’s a few years older than I am, let the record show. And it was a runner up for the Newbery Medal the next year. I did not know that when I was reading it that one summer.

I was a nine-year-old only-child living in an apartment in East Orange, New Jersey. Reading this book, I was on a horse farm in rural Vermont in the late 1700s.  What more could a prepubescent girl ask for?

It has an underdog that not only wins, he becomes the father of the Morgan breed of American horses — something Vermont is so proud of, it has named the Morgan the Vermont State Horse. Yes, a real Justin Morgan did have a horse, though the horse’s name was Figure, not Little Bub.  Tourists still flock to the Morgan Farm in Weybridge, VT


My second choice is a book I ran across one empty weekend when I was twelve.  I read it in one sitting as I recall, but only once. Again, I remember feeling transported to another time and place.


Published in 1719, Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe is also based on a real life adventure, that of Alexander Selkirk, who had recently written of his very similar (mis)adventures. I remember having never felt such tension from a story before, not even from the many Nancy Drew books I’d already put away.

It’s also older than I am (this time by a lot).


What about you? What early books do you recall loving? 

TOMORROW I’m back with another And So It Goes post, this one recognizing that we are in the middle of Black History Month. Do you know why it’s celebrated in February? Do you see racism as a growing problem in this country? Do you ever wonder what you can do? Tune in tomorrow.  Bring a friend.

13 Responses

  1. Merril D Smith
    | Reply

    Good morning, Janet! The first books I remember loving were Maurice Sendak’s Chicken Soup with Rice and Pierre, I Don’t Care. I’m counting this as one because when I was little and my mom took my little sister and me to the library, I would look for either or both of these books. I don’t think I even knew the author or titles, just where they were in the children’s section.
    Then similarly, when I was in fifth grade, I discovered the Narnia books in my school library. I read and re-read them in fifth and sixth grade. They transported me to another world–not just Narnia, but also the world of these English children during WWII.
    Merril D Smith recently posted…For My Older Daughter on Her BirthdayMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hi Merril. I missed the Narnia books, I’m afraid; didn’t even know about them until adulthood when I read C.S. Lewis’ memoir. But weren’t those early years in libraries filled with such eager anticipation? The whole library at my disposal — whatever would I learn today? Thanks for the memory. And thanks for starting us off.
      Janet Givens recently posted…A Two for Tuesday Prompt #2My Profile

  2. Marian Beaman
    | Reply

    First favorite: Come to Storyland, stories I disappeared into and became friends with the characters (for real). I still have the book, pages torn. The copyright page is gone, but it must have been the 1940s.

    The second, Blue Willow, featured Janey Larkin, who had an itinerant childhood. I felt sorry for her sometimes, but enjoyed her adventures “on the road,” some totally unimaginable in my stable life on Anchor Road.
    Marian Beaman recently posted…Wordless Wednesday: More Than Story CharactersMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      I hadn’t heard of these, but I certainly relate to getting lost in the stories. I think that’s what first hooks us into reading, when we lose ourselves into another land or time. Such power. Thanks for adding your voice, Marian.
      Janet Givens recently posted…A Two for Tuesday Prompt #2My Profile

  3. Laurie Buchanan
    | Reply

    Time at the Top
    A Wrinkle in Time
    Black and Blue Magic
    From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
    Harriet the Spy
    Nancy Drew (series)
    The Hardy Bous (series)
    The Swiss Family Robinson
    Laurie Buchanan recently posted…Capsule WardrobeMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      I will confess, Laurie, I read A Wrinkle In Time for the first time THIS YEAR. Felt it was time. 🙂 I can tell though, from your list, you have long been a woman who loves adventure.
      Janet Givens recently posted…A Two for Tuesday Prompt #2My Profile

  4. Clive Pilcher
    | Reply

    From my childhood I can recall being enchanted by the Swiss Family Robinson, by Johan Wyss, and The Incredible Journey, by Sheila Burnford. Both were made into movies but my parents encouraged me to read the books first – a lesson which has served me well down the years.
    Clive Pilcher recently posted…Time To Change: My PledgeMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Oh yes, Clive, a very good lesson. I don’t believe I’ve yet to find a movie made from a book that was better than the book it came from. I think it must be the power of the imagination runs so much bigger when we must also supply the video. ANd, of course, in the movie they must cut so much. How lucky you are to have learned that lesson early. Not sure many do.
      Janet Givens recently posted…A Two for Tuesday Prompt #2My Profile

  5. Darlene Foster
    | Reply

    I love your two books that helped you fall in love with reading. For me, one would have to be Anne of Green Gables which I have read many times and even recently. The other is Little Women. I read these books for the first time when I was 8 and still have my copy of Little Women. I loved the strong female characters in both books.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Don’t tell anyone, Darlene, but I have yet to read Anne of GG. Believe it or not. And, I hadn’t even heard of it until a decade or so ago. Shhhh. Our little secret. 🙂 thanks for adding your titles here. Someday folks will be writing “THE AMANDA BOOKS” to a question like this. 🙂
      Janet Givens recently posted…From the Middle of Black History MonthMy Profile

  6. Rae
    | Reply

    These are two lovely choices, again I really enjoy the creativity you use in writing these posts 😀
    Rae recently posted…Two for Tuesday Prompt #2My Profile

  7. […] first two prompts, two that taught me something (week 1) and two that helped me fall in love with reading (week 2) were easy, particularly last […]

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