Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Good Story by Becky Jensen

Rebekah Jensen, our resident middle grade reader/writer, shares her favorite reads.

 I’m a sucker for a good story. Doesn’t’ matter the genre, or intended age group, if it’s a solid story I’m hooked. I recently read Holly Black’s WHITE CAT & RED GLOVE and absolutely loved them (can’t wait for the next one to come out)! Holly knows how to capture the reader by creating a story you can’t put down! I HIGHLY recommend checking out Holly’s Books. Reading her books has made me think about some of my favorite classic stories and authors and I wanted to share those with you.

HANS BRINKER AND THE SILVER SKATES. I adore this book! It’s written by Mary Mapes Dodge and was first published in 1865. It’s a story of early ninteenth-century Dutch life and the struggles of Hans Brinker and his family. It’s a charming story! I found a copy in the Cannon Beach Children’s section and checked it out over and over again, until a dear friend found me a quality version at Powell’s Bookstore.
THE BLUE CASTLE by Lucy Maud Montgomery. A friend introduced me to this book as an adult. It’s more an young adult/adult story. I love love love the LMM’s Anne books, and this book was such a surprise! The main character, Valancy, is a spinster living a dull, routine life and a series of events changes Valancy’s entire world. LMM knows how to create characters that are full of life and dreams and this story won’t disappoint.

THE VELVETEEN RABBIT by Margery Williams. When I was in first grade our teacher showed the movie version of this story, and I cried. I was so moved by the plight of the dear little velveteen rabbit that I thoroughly believed from there on out that all stuffed animals were real (I had a stuffed basset hound doll named Brownie that was near and dear to me for many years). It’s amazing how a book can influence your imagination and this one was one of those stories for me.

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA- THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE by C.S. Lewis. My mother, bless her heart, used to read to us every night at bedtime and this was one of my favorites. C.S. Lewis is a master storyteller and I traveled through the wardrobe right along with Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. I also love Tolkien’s HOBBIT and LORD OF THE RINGS series (Tolkien and Lewis were contemporaries and would bounce their story ideas off of one another…can you imagine?!?).

MARY POPPINS books by P.L. Travers. I discovered these books ironically when I was a professional nanny. Of course everyone knows the movie, but the stories are wonderful! Full of childish delight, magic and wonder! Mary Poppins is a quirky and bewildering! Very fun stories to read with children.

POLLYANNA by Eleanor H Porter. I love Pollyanna! She’s unabashedly optimistic even through many trials and her optimism changes her family and a town. I reread this book as an adult and was cracking up at the humor in the story. Absolutely endearing story and a valuable lesson in the power of an optimistic heart.

My list is much bigger than just these stories (I’d add A.A Milne, PADDINGTON, and so many more!). As I said earlier, I love a good story and these are a few of my favorite. Many of my favorite books have been recommended by friends and family so leave a comment and share some of your favorite stories with all of us! Happy Reading everyone!


  1. Off to check out Holly Black's book on Amazon. Thank you for that recommendation, Becky.
    What a lovely collection of children's literature. I loved all of those you've mentioned except I don't know the Dutch one.
    How about The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit?
    The Wind in the Willows!

  2. I'm from a slightly (ahem) "older" demographic from Becky but my favorite books as a kid were Secret Garden and Heidi. I still love the sound of wind in the pines because it reminds me of Heidi. And Secret Garden? Man, I could just see that garden hidden behind the walls.

  3. When I was about 8 or 9 years old my favourite book was Maggie Muggins. I can remember reading it under the blankets with a flashlight. It had a bright red cover. My favourite part was when her friends taunted Maggie with "Redhead, redhead fire in the woodshed." I went online to see what I could find and discovered Maggie Muggins was a Canadian TV Show. I don't remember seeing it on TV but will never forget the book. I also spent many hours reading Nancy Drew books. How I loved those mysteries!

  4. Going waaay back, I still have the original Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy books given to me by my aunt. I loved the books so much, my mother made me the dolls to match. Yeah, books were a big deal in my family!