Estelle and I are teaming up to celebrate the books that turned us into readers with "You Make Me Feel So Young." In each post, we'll be highlighting three books: one joint read that we both loved growing up and then we'll each pick a book for one another (something we loved that the other one hasn't read yet).
Joint Pick: ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS by Scott O'Dell | First Published: 1960
More Than You Know: Island of the Blue Dolphins is inspired by the true story of the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island, Juana Maria. I've always been fascinated by that fact, but I was even more intrigued to learn that archaeologists believe that may have found Juana Maria's cave. There was previously no known habitation on the island, so it was a very exciting discovery! And how cool to find relics from her life?!
Memories are Made of This: Unlike with Harriet the Spy, I felt like I was a little more familiar with Island of the Blue Dolphins... although I still couldn't have shared a play-by-play of the plot. I definitely remembered that this was the story of a girl who was living alone on an island off the coast of California. I knew it was the story of how she'd survived, but I forgot that she was surrounded by people when the book began!
Second Time Around: I really enjoyed re-reading this book! It was never a favorite for me growing (mostly because I wasn't drawn to survival stories), but I did have fond memories of it. That being said, I didn't remember how sad and serious the book is. As a child, I think I was captivated by the the setting and fascinated by the things Karana had to do to survive. It was more of an adventure story than anything else! As an adult, I think I was more connected to the emotions in the story. I saw Karana's grief after losing her family and community, and I recognized her isolation in a way I didn't as a child.
You Can Take My Word for It, Baby: I would definitely read this book to my kids! I read an article after finishing the book criticizing its portrayal of the Aleuts, so I'd want to make sure that I kept that in mind while reading it. I think problematic books can still be worth reading, especially if you out them in the proper context. I know it's not a perfect read, but I think it has a lot to offer and would fascinate young readers!
Estelle's Pick for Me: THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND | First Published: 1958
Do You Know Why? I'm sure Hannah was shocked to know a historical fiction was one of my favorites of childhood but it's true. I read The Witch of Blackbird Pond for summer school reading; it was one of those assignments that never felt like one. (The best kind.) Accusations, new beginnings, and one very, complicated situation = so much to discuss. (Probably why it was a school pick for so many.) I hope Hannah finds it as memorable as I did. - from Estelle
Can't You Just See Yourself: I remember hearing about this book as a kid, but I'm pretty sure that I thought it was actually about witchcraft so I wasn't interested in reading it. What a mistake on my part! I'm guilty of exactly what the people in Kit's Connecticut community were guilty of - making assumptions about something without knowing much about it. Let me tell you, I would have loved this book as a kid. It's right up my alley!
I Give You My Word: I absolutely loved The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and I'm so glad Estelle chose it for me to read! As Estelle said, there's so much to discuss with this book. From a pure reading standpoint, it was such an engaging and enjoyable book. I have no doubt that I would have been hooked as a kid. But you know what's even better? It's such a layered and nuanced story. I loved every single character - the strong heroine, the captain's son, the mysterious Quaker woman, the lonely little girl... In addition to the plot and characters, I adored the setting and the historical detail. I literally can't think of anything to critcize!
Before the Music Ends: I cannot believe that I didn't read this book as a kid. If I ever needed proof that preconceived notions can keep you from incredible things, this book is it! This is a classic for a reason, and I can see why it's often taught in school. If you haven't read it yet, you're missing out. And if it's been a while since you read, I'd definitely suggest revisiting it. I think you'll find even more to love!
Have you read either of these books? What do you remember?
Comment or join the conversation with #SoRatherBeYoung.
What's next? WAYSIDE SCHOOL GETS A LITTLE STRANGER!