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Stir Crazy Book Enthusiast Seeking Distraction

Twenty-four days, two hours and three minutes of homeschooling left in the school year. I’m just going to leave this here.


I am on pins and needles waiting for Birthday Ranch to come back from the editor—longing for the distraction of the revision process. We’ve been rattling around the house and backyard for 50 days. Clearly I’m at the stage of COVID-19 shelter-in-place quarantine where I’m counting days. The days we’ve been home; the days we still have to slog through the school year.


Some days it‘s easier to count your blessings than others. For me, keeping my mind engaged is key to remaining positive. So today I’ve been thinking about what books I loved when I was six, seven, and eight years old, which I think is Birthday Ranch’s target audience.


These ages are enjoying chapter books with more story and fewer, if any, pictures. At the same time, they hold on to well-done and cherished picture books. And sometimes they skew a little older.



There was no Internet when I was a middle grade reader, so I chose books that caught my eye as I wandered through the library or pored over the Troll Book Club order form. These were some of my favorites:


  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

  • The Rainbow Goblins by Ui De Rico

  • Bunnicula and Howliday Inn by Deborah and James Howe

  • The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald

  • Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

  • Heidi by Johanna Spyri

  • Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L' Engle

  • Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Superfudge by Judy Blume

  • The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

  • Serendipity, Saveopotomas, Morgan and Me, Trafalgar True, and Flutterby by Stephen Cosgrove, illustrated by Robin James (her illustrations were everything)

  • The Borrowers by Mary Norton

  • The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop

  • James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

  • Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

  • Tennis Shoes by Noel Streatfeild

  • The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary

  • The Voyages of Dr. Doolittle by Hugh Lofting

  • Choose Your Own Adventure books created by Edward Packard

  • Miss Nelson Is Missing by Harry G. Allard Jr.

  • Mystery of the Green Cat by Phyllis A. Whitney

  • The Rescuers by Margery Sharp

  • Basil of Baker Street by Eve Titus (I just realized that this is where my obsession with Sherlock Holmes mysteries must have originated!)


I’m happy to report that I spent several hours looking up these books and who wrote them. #procrastination





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