by Kassandra Lamb ~ I did a blog tour recently for my new release, Lethal Assumptions, for which I was asked to provide several short blog posts. One suggested topic was writing about a favorite childhood author.
We authors get that question a lot—who was your favorite childhood author? And I never have trouble answering it—Laura Ingalls Wilder. But this time I asked myself WHY she has remained my all-time favorite childhood author.
I read a ton of books as a kid, always had my nose stuck in one. And my best friend—in my mind, maybe not in hers—was my school’s librarian.
I ended up loving mysteries and becoming a mystery writer.
So why wasn’t the author of the Nancy Drew mysteries my fave? Heck, I can’t even remember who wrote that series.
But before I became a mystery buff, I loved stories about the pioneer days in the United States. This started in 2nd grade when I was caught reading over my neighbor’s shoulder. There were two reading groups, and mine had been assigned a book I found boring. But the kid next to me was in the other group, and their book was all about a boy living during pioneer days.
I probably read every book about pioneers ever written for kids. But for some reason, Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of the Little House on the Prairie series, struck a chord that has resonated throughout my entire life.
I even wrote to tell her she was my favorite childhood author.
I was nine years old. The librarian said she would mail it for me.
I can still see the scene in my mind’s eye of me sitting at one of the big wooden tables in the middle of the school library, carefully crafting my letter.
Unfortunately, she had passed away four years prior (yes, I am that old), at the age of 90. I seem to recall the librarian telling me she had received a note back, from Laura’s family, thanking me for my support of her life’s work.
Looking back, I suspect the librarian was telling a white lie, trying to cushion the blow that my heroine was gone. She might not have even had an address to mail my note to.
What I didn’t realize then…Laura Ingalls Wilder would inspire me to be a writer someday.
All I knew at the time was that I loved her stories of growing up in pioneer days.
But this simple, unassuming woman, telling her real-life story, had planted the seed in my mind that maybe, just maybe, I too could be a writer.
So never underestimate the importance of one’s favorite childhood author. Their books not only expand vocabulary and teach life lessons and all that…
But they just might plant seeds that determine a child’s future path and success.
Who was your favorite childhood author? And why?? What did they inspire in you?
Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She is the author of the Kate Huntington psychological mysteries, set in her native Maryland, and the Marcia Banks and Buddy cozy mysteries, set in Central Florida. Plus she has started a new police procedural series, also set in Florida—The C.o.P. on the Scene mysteries. And she writes romantic suspense under the pen name of Jessica Dale.
Misterio press produces an array of quality crime fiction. We post here twice a month, usually on Tuesdays, to alert you to new releases, to entertain, and to inform.
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Barb TaubFebruary 8, 2022 at 3:56 am
I also used to love the Little House series. We read them to our children, and enjoyed every minute—almost. By the time we went back a decade later to read the series to the much younger Child #4, we got to the line about “the land was empty, there were no people, only Indians…” [Cue sound of needle scraping across record.]
The same thing happened over and over as I revisited beloved books, movies, or songs from an earlier time. [Narnia is a thinly veiled Christian allegory, ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ celebrates holiday date rape, and don’t even get me started on ‘Seven Brides For Seven Brothers’] As much as I tell myself to to recognise early stereotypes we’ve (hopefully) moved beyond, it still just feels… icky. It’s like public monuments to people and ideas we no longer accept. I don’t feel that books should be banned or burned, and I don’t think public symbols should be destroyed.But I do think they belong in museums with explanations framing their historical significance. They don’t necessarily have to be part of our current lives.
So I’m really glad that Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books and series played such an important role in your childhood and in your writing career. I can honestly say your own wonderful books reflect only positive lessons from a writer like Laura Ingalls Wilder, so the more negative aspects have been left behind where they belong. And I’m equally glad that there are wonderful writers and artists inspiring new generations.
Kassandra LambFebruary 8, 2022 at 11:50 pm
Yes, it is kind of startling when we encounter those references in early works. I’m currently reading Pioneer Girl (an annotated version, and the annotations are starting to make me crazy). It’s the original memoir that she wrote for adults. But her daughter was already established as an author and sold her on the idea of rewriting it as a series of children’s books. I haven’t gotten to any icky passages yet, but I’m sure there in there.
KathyFebruary 13, 2022 at 10:45 am
I never liked reading when I was younger so I missed out on all the fun. I love to read now and can’t imagine why I didn’t like to read when I was a child. I was probably too busy playing to be bothered by sitting still to read a book, lol. 🙂
Kassandra LambFebruary 13, 2022 at 5:43 pm
LOL Reading was the only thing that could get me to sit still as a kid, Kathy. I did a lot of my reading after bedtime, when I was supposed to be sleeping.