Hello, Childhood. I’m So Pleased To See You.

My father gave me The Book of Goodnight Stories on April 13, 1988.  I know this because he wrote it on the inside of the cover.  I had just turned nine.

There are 365 stories in this book, one for each day of the year.  I never had much discipline, however, and plowed through a week’s worth of stories at a time.  The author is Vratislav Stovicek and the stories were all translated into English.  Beautiful illustrations, tales that charm, tales that horrified.  When I was misbehaving, my parents punished me by hiding this book on the top shelf of the coat closet.  I couldn’t reach it even when standing on a chair.

The stories within helped to shape me.  I remember curling up and reading The Glass Fairy and The Boy Without Eyes.  The binding is coming apart, but I still read it to my own children, hoping that it will inspire their imagination the way that it inspired mine.  Sometimes I think it’s worthwhile to stop and revisit the things that we enjoyed when we were young.  It’s surprising how many things stay with us.

10 Comments on “Hello, Childhood. I’m So Pleased To See You.”

  1. That sounds like an amazing book Mercedes! Thanks for sharing it with us. I didn’t have a story like that, but I had a book from the school library I would borrow over and over again until the binding was worn.

    “In a Dark, Dark Room.”

    It has about seven ghost stories in it all from legends and folk lore. My favorite one was the Green Ribbon when the girl’s life came close to the end she took the ribbon off and her head rolled away from her body.

    My kids read it now. They love it, even though they aren’t as dark of a child as I was.

    Good to keep hold of the memories. I’ll have to look that book up. It sounds incredible.

  2. Ah, childhood books. Awesome.

    I was in “the best book club ever” as a child, and still have boxes and boxes of books. They’re the special ones we take out to read on Saturday afternoons in the backyard fort.

  3. I know it might be cliched, by “The Giving Tree” has always been my favorite book from childhood. I used to read it at least twice a week, and it made me cry every time. For some reason, over the whole of my life, I’ve been addicted to taking in things that make me cry. It’s strange.

  4. A fine post indeed. I try to keep my childhood inspirations close at hand. They are really what keeps me going. One of my favorites from my “late” childhood is a book “Dance of the Dead” by Christie Golden.

    Its out of print now, but I think one of my friends still has the copy I let him borrow.

  5. That book sounds delightful.

    I had a huge book that I spent most of my childhood buried in too… It had originally belonged to my mother and my aunt and had delicous things such as Alice in Wonderland, The Water Babies and the Legend of Sleeping Hollow in it.

  6. Very surprising indeed! My childhood books were Alice in Wonderland and The Little Prince… I do believe they shaped me somehow, especially the Little Prince contributed a lot to who I am today.
    I still read those books and as soon as open the cover, I’m that little girl again who believes ever word she reads 🙂

  7. One of my favorites at that age was the Arbuthnot Anthology of Children’s Literature, which had a lot of boring chapters on how to teach–I skipped those parts–but was full of amazing stories and poems. I still have a lot of those poems memorized, like the eerie “Green Moth” that starts out “The night the green moth came for me / a creamy moon poured down the hill” that still gives me shivers. 🙂

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