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.
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.