Thursday, March 27, 2014

Throwback Thursday: What were you reading in 1993?

Happy Throwback Thursday!

The year was 1993. There were Clintons in the White House, Fresh Princes in Bel-Air, and Lisa Frank supplies in my backpack.

(If only I could still get this tan... but I picked a job that requires hours upon hours in front of a computer screen.)

This was the year I began my participation in the summer reading club at the local library, and the library automatically became the coolest place in existence. Not only were there thousands of books I could read whenever I wanted FOR FREE, but also during the summer there were PRIZES for reading! Stickers, plastic rings, temporary tattoos, Dairy Queen coupons, Borders gift cards (moment of silence for Borders)... It was a dream world, and I was living the dream. From 2:55 on the last day of school until the night before first day of school, it was reading season.

Here's what I was reading in 1993!



I loved the idea of having a twin, I loved the idea of blond hair, and I loved the idea of California. Loved them all like Olaf loves the idea of summer. Plus, the twins were just my age! We could have been classmates! Throw in mysteries and I was hooked. HOOKED! Although, I must confess, the Sweet Valley Kids books were responsible for me almost losing my library card privileges -- one of them (since I tended to check them out by the half-dozen) slipped unnoticed under the backseat of our Chevy van and was lost for weeks, incurring hefty fines and stern parental talking-tos about responsibility before I finally found it. I think it was totally worth it, though.




My second series of note at this time was this fun little companion series to the Babysitters Club (see 1995). Oh, Karen. You were a complicated, brutally honest, sensitive, loyal little know-it-all. At times I shook my eight-year-old head at your seven-year-old follies, but I always admired your joie de vivre and your je ne sais quoi. Not that haircut, though. From the day I read Karen's Haircut, I lived in fear of the surprise mullet. I think it's part of the psychological reason I started growing my hair out. But other than that, I really loved these books.




Laura Ingalls Wilder, the Karen Brewer of the 1800s!

But seriously, though, I think what I loved most about the Little House books, more than the intriguing descriptions of pioneer life or the adventures of living in what seemed like wilderness to a suburban girl like me, was the way that Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote herself as a character. She was honest. She was blunt. She wasn't afraid to show her flaws, her frustrations, and her inabilities. Even as a young reader, I think I picked up on the frankness of child-Laura and thought, "Okay, this girl's for real. It's a Little House in the No-B.S. Zone." She told it like it was, and, far from making the books dry or overly historical, it made Laura a character with whom I could identify, over a century after her own childhood had passed.

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Throwback Thursday is always more fun with friends! Please leave comments with what YOU were reading/writing in the year in question. If you'd like to be even more involved by "guest posting" a complete reader/writer Throwback Thursday here, please email me at joy.eilene (at) gmail.com. I want to see your throwbacks!

So tell me, what were YOUR literary choices in 1993 (or whenever you were eight)?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Throwback Thursday: What were you reading in 1992?

Happy Throwback Thursday!

The year was 1992. Bill Cosby and Johnny Carson were signing off their network shows, Genesis and Right Said Fred were on the radio, and I was on the hunt for Girl Scout badges.


(Note my inability to keep a pair of Keds clean. This has persisted to adulthood.)

This was the year I discovered the delight of story-writing. We were given magical vessels called "journals" in first grade, and once the initial thrill of filling a page by writing "the very very very very very very end" had worn off, it suddenly clicked that I could record on paper the things that happened in my head! My first story was about a hen named Suzy and her chicks. I'm not going to say it was Caldecott-medal material... I'll leave that to my mom, who has lovingly preserved the sole copy somewhere in her basement. 

Anyway here's what I was reading in 1992!



Kevin Henkes is an amazing author-illustrator, and I think this book of his single-handedly awakened my love of enormous words. Other favorites by Kevin Henkes included Julius the Baby of the World and Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse.




This book wasn't just a book to me -- it was the basis for my first foray into THE THEATAH (not counting my dramatic narration of "Goldilocks" in kindergarten -- this time I had a costume). Miss Wells' first grade class performed The Very Hungry Caterpillar as a play for the parents, and we each got to be a different food eaten by the caterpillar during his week-long food bender. I was given the delicious role of the ice cream cone.




My first great literary love: the mystery chapter book. I loved -- still love -- the way these brothers and sisters cooperated and hung together through tough times, and the way that they continually happened to stumble upon mysteries. Nothing encourages a kid's creativity like reading about fellow children finding adventures and excitement in the ordinary world. Also, it surely didn't hurt that The Boxcar Children arrived in my life just before my younger brother Toby. After he came home, the Alden children mirrored my sibling set-up exactly: oldest brother, older sister, younger sister, little brother. That was pretty cool.

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Throwback Thursday is always more fun with friends! Please leave comments with what YOU were reading/writing in the year in question. If you'd like to be even more involved by "guest posting" a complete reader/writer Throwback Thursday here, please email me at joy.eilene (at) gmail.com. I want to see your throwbacks!

So tell me, what were YOUR literary choices in 1992?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday: What were you reading in 1991?

Happy Throwback Thursday, everyone!

For those of you who missed last week, here's the plan: each Thursday (until I run out of throwback years), I'm going to share a photo throwback to an earlier year of my life - and in addition to sharing photos, I will also share what I was reading and/or writing at that time. It'll be a fun glimpse into my earlier self: how I became the reader and writer I am today (I promise it won't be THAT harrowing of a journey). Also, it will include awesome 90s fashions.

I'm looking for group participation on this, too, guys. Throwback Thursday is always more fun with friends! Please leave comments with what YOU were reading/writing in the year in question. If you'd like to be even more involved by "guest posting" a complete reader/writer Throwback Thursday here, please email me at joy.eilene (at) gmail.com. I want to see your throwbacks!

Okay, ready for #ThrowbackThursday?

The year was 1991. I was five years old, a studious kindergartner, and I had just discovered the divine gift of Scholastic book orders. 



In between coloring and my attempts to swing over the bars at recess, I was quite an avid little bookworm. I still hadn't attempted writing my own stories yet, though according to my kindergarten memory book, I had decided on at least one of my career goals.  I wrote "I want to be a mommy" beneath a drawing of me in a purple dress and high heels (I just assumed mommies were issued high heels on day one... curiously, though, there were no children in the picture).

22 years later, done and done. :)

(You can't see my high heels, but I assure you they were there.)

Anyway here's what I was reading in 1991!



This book was featured in my kindergarten memory book (alongside my maternal aspirations) as my "Favorite Book." I loved the story of trying something new and finding out you like it - though this book never convinced me to try pickles. I think getting me to like pickles is beyond the power of any literary work. I do not like them in boxes, or with foxes, nor here, there, or anywhere.




This is the cautionary tale of a little boy caught between two worlds... the world of Grandma Nan and the world of Grandma Sal. Even as a child, I liked the assertiveness of Pip, the little boy who decides he's had enough of mixed messages from his double-booked babysitters. However, Grandma Sal seemed to be much more fun than Grandma Nan... #TeamSal




This is another cautionary tale, but one of gluttony. Cookie Monster's dramatic foil is a witch who owns a cookie tree and wants to protect it from him at all costs. I can't tell you how much I loved Cookie Monster in 1991. I had serious dreams of singing and eating alongside that incorrigible yet adorable googly-eyed monster. 

As much as I loved kindergarten, I couldn't wait to come home and watch Sesame Street with my brother while our mom made lunch: grilled cheese sandwiches cut into triangles (never rectangles - we weren't savages) with green beans and applesauce. Aaaaand now I'm hungry.

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Happy Throwback Thursday! Now tell me, what were YOUR literary choices in 1991 (or whenever you were five years old)?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Throwback Thursday: What were you reading in 1990?

Happy Throwback Thursday, everyone!

I know I'm a little late to the party in jumping on this bandwagon (that's an intentional mixed metaphor - a bandwagon party sounds awesome), but I had a fun thought of how to tie the popular photo-sharing custom of #ThrowbackThursday into my love of writing and reading. Ready for it?

Each Thursday (until I run out of throwback years), I'm going to share a photo throwback to an earlier year of my life - and in addition to sharing photos, I will also share what I was reading and/or writing at that time. It'll be a fun glimpse into my earlier self: how I became the reader and writer I am today (I promise it won't be THAT harrowing of a journey). Also, it will include awesome 90s fashions.

I'm looking for group participation on this, too, guys. Throwback Thursday is always more fun with friends! Please leave comments with what YOU were reading/writing in the year in question.

If you'd like to be even more involved by "guest posting" a complete reader/writer Throwback Thursday here, please email me at joy.eilene (at) gmail.com. I want to see your throwbacks!

Okay, ready for the first #ThrowbackThursday?

The year was 1990. I was four years old, I was rocking bangs and pseudo-moon boots, and (like now) there was a lot of winter happening.


I wasn't really writing too much at that point in time - I preferred crayons, which are customarily used for coloring - though I could write my name. My favorite thing to do was to write my name (it's "JOY," if you're new around here) with a heart instead of an O. However, I wasn't very good at drawing hearts at that age, so they probably just looked like really wonky o's.

Here's what I was reading in 1990!



This was the first book I ever read on my own -- fitting, since it's a tale of a little chick who seizes her independence. I highly recommend it. :)




Who's read this one? I read it until the cover fell off. I can still easily recall the beautifully shaded illustrations and the mouse's clever-not-so-clever attempts to hide the strawberry from the bear (my favorite was the Groucho Marx glasses).




Ah, my seasonal choice book. You can't beat the Little Golden Books for nostalgia, and this one combined all of my four-year-old self's favorite things: Christmas, family, and anthropomorphized woodland creatures (Spoiler alert: those are still my favorite things). I would read this book any day of the year - it could be gross rainy March or dog-days August, and I would still instantly wish for snow, the smells of pine trees and cinnamon, and the absolute delight of knowing that Christmas was coming.

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That's what 1990 looked like to me. Happy Throwback Thursday!

Now tell me, what were YOUR literary choices in 1990 (or whenever you were four years old)?