Friday, August 14, 2020

Childhood Favorites by Merrillee Whren


Recently I gave away a large box of books to some neighborhood children. They came over and went through rows of books and picked out what they thought they might like to read. The books are those I had saved from my years teaching elementary school. Even though they took quite a few books, I still have a lot left, as you can see from the photo below. Not all the books on these shelves are kids books, but probably eighty percent are. 

 I haven't read all of these books, and I probably never will. But either my girls or I have read a good majority of them. I read most of the children's books as an adult. I always felt a little sad that my teachers never introduced me to the children's books that were available when I was a kid. I believe my love affair with reading and books would have started at a much younger age. So I was happy as a teacher and a parent to share books with my children and my students. My mother did introduce me to reading by subscribing me to the Weekly Readers Book Club. I read those books, but after my subscription to the book club ended, so did my reading for some years. During my school years, my reading consisted mostly of assigned reading for classes. 

Here is a photo of one of my childhood favorites. Old Bones the Wonder Horse by Mildred Mastin Pace. As you can see, it is old and a little battered, but the story is still wonderful.

When I wrote the first book in my Front Porch Promises series, A Match to Call Ours, I needed a book for my heroine to read to the twin girls in the story. I decided to use this book. Here's a little excerpt. 

When Parker escorted Brittany into Rose and Jasmine’s bedroom, the little girls raced to hug Brittany as if they hadn’t seen her all day.

Jasmine scurried to the bookshelf in between the beds and grabbed a book. She turned to Brittany. “Are you going to read another chapter?”

Brittany looked at him. “Is that all right?”

Parker nodded. “Must be a good book.”

“It is, Daddy.” Jasmine sat on the bed beside Brittany.

Rose sat on the other side. “It’s about a racehorse, and he’s going to run in the Kentucky Derby. We want to see if he wins. You should listen, too.”

“Okay.” Parker leaned against the doorjamb.

Jasmine nodded. “Old Bones is the horse’s name.”

Brittany began to read, and Parker let the sound of her voice wash over him. He remembered the first time she’d read to the girls and how she’d made the story and the characters come alive. Tonight was no different. She had him rooting for the horse to win even though he knew the outcome. When Old Bones won the race, the girls cheered.

After Brittany read the rest of the chapter, Parker listened to the girls’ prayers. When they prayed again for the safety of the cows and their babies, Parker found himself praying right along with them. He didn’t know what was happening to him. He guessed that Brittany and his daughters were making him a better man despite himself.

You can check out the books in the Front Porch Promises series on my website where you can read excerpts and find buy links. Click here for the information.

What was your favorite book when you were a child?

Merrillee Whren is the winner of the 2003 Golden Heart Award presented by Romance Writers of American. She is married to her own personal hero, her husband of forty-plus years, and has two grown daughters. Connect with her on her Facebook page and sign up for her newsletter.



  1. I loved The Babysitter's Club Series when I was growing up

  2. I read The Bobsey Twins as a child. Mom would buy me another book in the series at the grocery store. I loved them!

  3. When I was about 6 or 7 I was given a book with 3 fairy Tales. It had the Ugly Duckling, The flying Trunk and what became my favourite the Snow Queen. I loved that book and still have it (and Frozen is nothing like the real Snow Queen). As I got a little older Enid Blyton had a huge influence. I love the Magic Faraway Tree series, Mr Galliano's Circus and the Naughtiest Girl series. She was a great writer

  4. I'm not familiar with Mildred Mastin Pace's book, Merrillee, but will try to look it up for my granddaughters.