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Self on the Shelf

Catherine Urdahl

Catherine Urdahl 

As a child, I was shy and scared — of oth­er kids, dogs, almost any­thing out­side my fence. My par­ents enrolled me in preschool, hop­ing I’d blos­som. I refused to get out of the car. I had every­thing I need­ed at home, includ­ing a mom who loved read­ing to me. My first book mem­o­ry is Three Bed­time Sto­ries: The Three Lit­tle Kit­tens, The

Melina Mangal

Mélina Mangal 

I looked on my shelves, won­der­ing which books to high­light. I have sev­er­al shelves, scat­tered around the house. Though I am a school librar­i­an, my home shelves are quite flu­id, as in, they’re not strict­ly orga­nized. Books are loose­ly grouped by for­mat and size, some­times by genre. I real­ly don’t have that  many books (I love to vis­it the library!),

Wild Swans

Cynthia Grady 

In the begin­ning, before I found myself with­in the pages of a book iden­ti­fy­ing with this char­ac­ter or that one, I lis­tened to my grand­moth­er read aloud from My Book House while sur­round­ed by my eight sib­lings. The giant, mul­ti-vol­ume anthol­o­gy con­tains poet­ry from Moth­er Goose to Shake­speare, selec­tions from the Song of Solomon to Christi­na Ros­set­ti to

Giant Otto

Avi 

Such is the nar­cis­sism of youth that, sad­ly, one often learns about some impor­tant things about a par­ent only when they have passed on. Such was the case of my moth­er. Even as I began to pub­lish, she nev­er told me that she had want­ed to be a pic­ture book writer. I only learned of that when, after she

Freddy the Detective

Elizabeth Verdick 

When I pic­ture myself as a kid, I think of my bed­room in our split-lev­­­el West Vir­ginia house, a room I loved but had to leave behind at age eleven when my fam­i­ly moved to Mary­land. For years, that room was my own lit­tle world, my book nook, my place to cud­dle my cat Rag, col­lect chi­­­na-cat fig­urines, and, yes,

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Melanie Heuiser Hill 

This stack is large­ly the Self-On-The-Shelf stack of my child­hood. There would be stacks of oth­ers, as well, you under­stand. I was sur­prised how many were miss­ing when I went to pull books for this col­umn, actu­al­ly. Where were all the Judy Blume books? Where was How To Eat Fried Worms? And, I sup­pose if I’m real­ly honest,

Aimée Bissonette 

A few days ago, I scanned my many book­shelves in antic­i­pa­tion of writ­ing this piece. My charge was to assem­ble a small stack of books that had sig­nif­i­cance to me.  Per­haps, I thought, I’ll write about my love for mys­ter­ies. After all, I spent count­less hours as a young girl devour­ing the Hardy Boys and Nan­cy Drew mys­ter­ies before moving

Charlotte's Web

Candice Ransom 

Books swept me away, one after the oth­er, this way and that; I made end­less vows accord­ing to their lights, for I believed them. (Annie Dil­lard,  An Amer­i­can Child­hood) It’s hard to say which came first: did I adopt traits of the main char­ac­ter in cer­tain books I read, or did I grav­i­tate towards those books because I already had those

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