(reprint from 2018)
I love children’s books! Do you? Couldn’t you just sit for hours, flipping through colorful pages in children’s books and soaking up the captivating tales? Watercolor art is a favorite and story set to poetry is the best pleasure ever.
From a little tyke, I grew up reading books like Harold and the Purple Crayon, A Happy Ending Series (with Tippu and Chippy and friends), and Tales of Fern Hollow. As my reading tastes matured, those childhood books still held a place in my heart, but I added to the pile. The Mandie Series, High Hurdles, Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, and others. Then into my adult years, I didn’t forsake the well-loved books, but included historicals by Sarah Sundin, Cara Putman, Tracie Petersen, Jeanne M. Dickson, Lynn Austin, Joanna Davidson Politano, Janyre Tromp, and so many other wonderful authors.
However, there is one special book I forgot to mention.
I love that little monkey—and the television shows! But do you know much about the authors? It may surprise you like it did me! This beloved, cantankerous monkey nearly didn’t make it into print.
The authors, Hans Reyersbach and his wife Margaret Waldstein, were Jewish and had to escape when the Nazis invaded France in 1940. Fleeing on “new” bicycles created from spare parts, Hans Ryersbach carried the precious manuscript about a Monkey named Raffy. Margaret and Hans eventually arrived in New York where author and illustrator couple found a home for their manuscript about a curious little monkey that became known as Curious George. The editor at Houghton Mifflin thought child readers needed the friendship of a colorful, adventurous monkey to soften the harshness of wartime. The first book sold in 1941. I’m happy to be able to incorporate Curious George into my own WWII novel when my character Laurie’s little cousin is born in 1944. Even my fictional characters get to enjoy this crazy monkey!
“I know what I liked as a child, and I don’t do any book that I, as a child, wouldn’t have liked.” — H. A. Rey
If you’d like to read further, check out The Journey That Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey, linked to Barnes & Noble.
Leave me a note in the comments! I look forward to the conversation!
What are some of your favorite childhood books and why?
What are some of your favorite adult books and why?