What was your first favorite book as a child?

BLOOMFIELD, NJ — February is National Library Lovers Month. With that in mind, we emailed a question to library lovers around town and asked them to name their first favorite book. We thank those people who responded and here is what they had to say.

• Linda Colucci, principal of the Early Childhood Learning Center: “My very first favorites that I chose were the Nancy Drew Mysteries. My first ‘baby’ book was ‘Are you My Mother?’ My mother read it to us every night.”
The Nancy Drew series began publication April 28, 1930, with “The Secret of the Old Clock.” The series has never been out of print with all titles written under the pseudonym “Carolyn Keene.” Mildred Worth Benson penned 23 of the first 30 books. “Are You My Mother” was written by Philip Dey Eastman. It was published June 12, 1960.

• Mary DiTrani, principal, Oak View Elementary School: “My first favorite book was ‘Green Eggs and Ham,’ by Dr. Seuss. I remember it was the first book I was able to read by myself and I read it over and over and over again!”
“Green Eggs and Ham” was published Aug. 12, 1960. It was written by Theodor Seuss Geisel using the pseudonym Dr. Seuss.

• Anthony Nesto, director of Bloomfield Department of Public Works and Parks: “My first favorite book was “Heroes of Hockey,” written by Stan Fischler, in 1971. Hockey is my favorite sport by far and the Rangers have always been my favorite team. However, my favorite player of all time was Bobby Orr. I always thought he was amazing, but I remember he was on the cover of that book and that’s what precipitated me becoming such a huge fan of his.”

• Michael Parlavecchio, township attorney: “I’d say one of my early favorite books was ‘The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins,’ by Dr. Seuss.
“The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins was published Sept. 1, 1938. It is a tale about bullying and the abuse of power.

• Marianne Abbasso, principal, Franklin Elementary School: “My favorite books, when I was younger, were ‘Little Women’ and ‘To Kill A Mockingbird.’”
“Little Women” was originally published in two volumes, in 1868 and 1869. Written by Louisa May Alcott, it is the story of the four March sisters — Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. “To Kill a Mockingbird” was published July 11, 1960. It was written by Harper Lee.

• John Baltz, principal, Carteret Elementary School, also said his favorite book was, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

• Lou Venezia, Bloomfield fire chief, said his first favorite reading was from “The Hardy Boys” series.
Nineteen of the first 25 books in this series were written by Leslie McFarland under the pseudonym Franklin W. Dixon. The first volume, “The Tower Treasure,” was published May 1927.

• Mary Todaro, the principal of Demarest Elementary School: “My first favorite book was ‘Pride and Prejudice.’ It had lots of social humor.”
Originally published Jan. 28, 1813, its author is Jane Austen.

• Chris Jennings, principal, Bloomfield High School: “I remember reading the ‘Encyclopedia Brown’ series when I was a kid. I couldn’t get enough of those books.”
Written by Donald J. Sobol, this is a series about 10-year-old Leroy Brown solving neighborhood mysteries. The first in the series, published in 1963, was ‘Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective.’

• Jenny Mundell, Bloomfield councilwoman: “There are so many books I love, but I think the first book I truly fell in love with was Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ It might have been the first book I remember reading that had a strong, young, female protagonist and that certainly had an impact on me. Norton Juster’s ‘The Phantom Tollbooth’ was also one of my favorites because I love the way he plays with language.”
”The Phantom Tollbooth” was first published in September 1961 with illustrations by Jules Feiffer. The young female protagonist in “To Kill a Mockingbird” is named Jean Louise “Scout” Finch. Her brother is Jem and her father, Atticus.

• Joseph Fleres, director of elementary education, said he was a big Tom Sawyer fan: “I also loved anything from the ‘Hardy Boys’ series.
Mark Twain wrote three stories about Tom Sawyer: “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” 1876, “Tom Sawyer Abroad,” 1894, and “Tom Sawyer, Detective,” 1896. The character also appears in “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” 1884.

• Susan Hebert, Bloomfield Open Space advocate: “I remember a series I loved, ‘Betsy-Tacy.” I loved to read, but this was the series I can still remember being stuck on. I don’t remember which was the first book I read, but I read the whole series.”
Betsy-Tacy is a series of 10 books written by Maud Hart Lovelace. The first book, “Betsy-Tacy,” was published in 1940. It is about 5-year-old Betsy Ray and her best friend, Tacy Kelly. The action takes place in fictional Deep Valley, Minn. The Betsy-Tacy Society perpetuates the work of Lovelace.

• Izabela Van Tassel, Bloomfield business owner: “The first book I really remember, because I wanted it so badly, was Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘Complete Fairy Tales.’”
The works of Hans Christian Andersen, 1805-1875, include “The Little Mermaid,” “The Ugly Duckling,” “The Emperor’s New Clothes” and “The Steadfast Tin Soldier.”

• Ellen Rogers, vice-president, Bloomfield Board of Education, said her first favorite book was “Little Women,” as did Principal Abbasso.

• Karen Lore, director of the Bloomfield Department of Health: “‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and ‘Green Eggs and Ham.’ I think I was food obsessed! I remember how exciting it would be to win the golden ticket and have all of that chocolate even if things did not turn out as planned. And who doesn’t love Dr. Seuss? Can’t say you don’t like something until you try it!”
‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ is by Roald Dahl and was first published in 1964. It is a children’s fantasy about the adventures of Charlie Bucket in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ was also Principal DiTriani’s first favorite book.

• Susan Doward, pastor, Brookdale Reformed Church: “Choosing my first is difficult — ‘The Poky Little Puppy,’ ‘Charlotte’s Web,’ ‘The Borrowers,’ ‘A Wrinkle in Time,’ ‘Pippi Longstockings’ and ‘The Grapes of Wrath.’ Each had a different effect at various times in my life and all meaningful.”
“The Poky Little Puppy,” 1942, by Janette Sebring Lowrey; “Charlotte’s Web,” 1952, by E. B. White; “The Borrowers,” 1952, by Mary Norton; “A Wrinkle in Time,” 1962, by Madeleine L’Engle; “Pippi Longstockings,” 1945, by Astrid Lindgren; and “The Grapes of Wrath,” 1939, by John Steinbeck.
And then there were none. So thank you all for reading and Happy National Library Lovers Month!

COMMENTS