Sepia Saturday – My Childhood Library

Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs. Historical photographs of any age or kind become the launchpad for explorations of family history, local history and social history in fact or fiction, poetry or prose, words or further images.

All those books!

I could begin with a picture of the stacks of books I have purchased but still haven’t read. Libraries, book stores, used book stores, estate sales, book jackets, jacket-less books, – they all call to me! Read this! Read me! And some that I have already read join in and call, “Read me again! You know how much you love me!”

Seems like I spend a lot of time reading blogs these days and very little time with my books. The stacks grow taller.

I do love books and places where there are books. But I don’t recall having many books when I was a child. Only a few, I think.

One of my favorites was – and still is – “The Little Engine That Could”. I love the illustrations. And, like all kids, I loved the repetition. And the story of the little engine that succeeded because of kindness, hard work, and determination.

I no longer have the book I read as a child, but I have the one I read to my children.


I also enjoyed this book of nursery rhymes. But this book stands out for another reason. When I was little, I sometimes had trouble going to sleep. There were snakes under my bed and monsters lurking in the dark. I would feel afraid and unable to close my eyes and fall asleep. I found a mental image that helped me overcome these feelings and nudge me to a restful state. It was the image of monkeys running around in a tree and acting silly. I think I got the idea from this book.


And then there is the story of “Snoopy – The Nosey Little Puppy” who was rescued from the pound. I was going to scan all of it to add here, but I had some little sisters who did a lot of scribbling in it. Let’s just call this one well-loved.

Another book I remember owning is one I no longer have nor can I remember the title or the name of the main character – although I did for many years. It was red, with the cloth library-type cover and simple black line drawing on the cover. The story was about a little girl who went to the circus alone for the first time. She bought cotton candy as soon as she arrived and then couldn’t find her ticket. The story was about her going from place to place and person to person, trying to find her ticket – which was, of course, stuck to her cotton candy. Not sure why I liked or remembered this book, except that, as I said, I didn’t have very many. If this story sounds familiar to anyone, I’d like to know!

Since American Thanksgiving is next Thursday, I’ll close with one last book from my childhood – although I really don’t remember it. Guess it wasn’t a favorite.

It claims to be an illustrated version of a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson. The Ralph Waldo Emerson Society, however, has this to say about the poem:
This three-stanza, 21-line poem has long been attributed to Emerson, but is definitely not by him. No author has been discoverd. It is widely reprinted in hymnals, and has been published separately as We Thank Thee (Racine, Wisc.: Whitman, 1955) and Father, We Thank You (New York: SeaStar Books, 2001).

It is always good to count one’s blessings!

If you would have preferred something that included a sepia photograph or two, I invite you to view a post I wrote about my great uncle who lived by his motto: If you can read, you can do anything. It fits the theme pretty well.

Please turn the page to the Sepia Saturday blog where you can read what other bloggers have created for today’s prompt.



18 thoughts on “Sepia Saturday – My Childhood Library

  1. The first book I remember having was Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. There must have been others because I would read anything I could get my hands on. Hey, Diddle Diddle and other nursery rhymes stay in your memory always; lately I have been researching the history behind some rhymes and have been amazed at the real events that they portray.

    • I read lots of horse books when I was a little older – including black beauty. Also loved the Black Stallion books. I’ve looked into a few nursery rythmes and there is some interesting history. Maybe you’ll share what you’ve found with us!

  2. OMG, Kathy! You have just given me chills! I had identical editions of two of those books: “The Little Engine That Could” ( “I think I can, I think I can …”) AND the “Hey Diddle Diddle”. Wow.

    You don’t recall a book with a rusty coloured pony called, “Penny”, do you? I’ve been trying to track that one down.

    You might enjoy this post on my poetry blog, about a book I rediscovered:

    • Young readers of the same books! Sorry I don’t remember Penny, but now I’ll be on the look for her. I read the post on your poetry blog. I am not familiar with that book but completely identify with your experience. As I was writing this and remembering my monkeys in trees, I realized how a book had brought me comfort before I was even able to read the words myself. And holding that book in my hands surely made all the difference.

  3. Many fine children’s books. good to see them used! You are right about the repetition in stories. When I told my grandchildren a story I had to be careful to tell it the same way they were used to hear it, I would also do some simple drawings while I was telling the story, these had to be more or less the same too. Stories and illustrations have changed mark ably in children’s books.

  4. What a lovely post! I remember The Little Engine That Could. I still have a few books from my childhood. Of course, they involved horses. What little girl doesn’t love horses? See if you remember these titles ~ Blaze and Thunderbolt, The Horse That Takes The Milk Around, and The Crooked Colt. I believe they were being given away by a library, so we were the glad recipients of them.

    I also have another book from my childhood is called Miss Suzy. It’s about a little gray squirrel who lived at the top of a tall oak tree. Thanks for taking us down memory lane!

    • I read lots of books about horses – always dreamed I’d have one some day, but never did. Blaze and Thunderbolt sound familiar, but not the other two. I read lots of the Black Stallion books and Misty. And, of course, I loved watching the TV show My Friend Flicka. I love children’s books – old and new. Thanks for adding to the memories, Jana!

  5. What a super collection of books you have! Obviously I don’t know any of them but I won’t burden you with the Dutch equivalents I read. I also agree with you on the pile of books that’s waiting to be read. My pile is now about 3 feet high, serious!

    • I believe you, Peter. That’s about the size of mine pile of books to read. We are reading all the interesting writing of Sepia Saturday participants – that counts for something!

  6. Kathy, these are wonderful photos! I too had The Little Engine That Could (of course), and Hey, Diddle, Diddle. We read The Pokey Little Puppy (one step behind Snoopy!). Did you read a book called Johnny Crow’s Garden? or Mother West Wind Why Stories? There are so many memories here. If I can find a few of my books, maybe I’ll add some pages to Sepia Saturday! Thank you for these memories.

  7. Old children’s books are my favorite. I give a collection of my favorite children’s books as a present to new mothers. It includes a couple of my favorites and my children’s favorites as well. I hate to think of anyone ever growing up without books!

  8. Marvelous collection!! The little engine that could, oh yeah…
    I have been researching for a book I had as a child about folk stories
    og a region in my province, but to no avail.
    It seems to exist only in my fading memory…
    Poor Waldo, being credited for something he didn’t write.
    Something nice, mind you!!
    But he did write plenty to satisfy anyone.
    Happy Thanksgiving!!

    • Glad you enjoyed my book collection! I wish you luck in finding the book of folk stories. I don’t think I’ll ever find the book I remember now that I’ve forgotten so much about it. Wish I had written it down somewhere.

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