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Reading Between the Times


Written by: J.E. Tyler

Reading is the building block to constructing your own imagination.  It is an essential task to building one’s creative abilities.  The words of a story are like mini projectors casting beautiful images onto our minds.  I can recall some of the many books that I read during the earliest years of my childhood.  I remember being so excited while reading the adventures of characters.  Being able to play out the actions behind words and to envision characters simply from the author’s description are always so exhilarating.  Even for many of the picture books, I remember animating the characters on my own.  I’d even add to the stories by expanding upon their adventures.  As a way to accentuate this latest Creative Writing Tip, I’d like to provide ScribBoy’s fun list of throwback children’s stories.  (Click on the book titles for Amazon purchase links.)

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever 

By Barbara Robinson 

I remember this story being so pleasantly unusual.  The characters were not your typical children’s book cast of characters.  They were wild, rude and unruly; but their antics were so fun to read.  One of my favorite television shows is Showtime’s Shameless.  The Herdman Siblings were just as outrageous as the Gallagher’s on any of their best days. 

Encyclopedia Brown 

By Donald J. Sobol

As a young child, Encyclopedia Brown was my introduction to mystery.  He was a young boy who solved mysteries.  It was awesome being able to imagine that I too could save lives like Matlock. 

Mirandy and Brother Wind 

By Patricia McKissack 

This story holds a very special place in my heart.  It was one of the few children’s book classics with African American characters that I remember being available to us in Elementary School.  This story also peaked my imagination.  The protagonist, Mirandy, wanted to catch the wind so that he could dance with her during the cakewalk.  As a child who regularly saw faces in the patterns of fabric or even the clouds of the sky, I was definitely excited to read about Mirandy’s life granting imagination as well. 

Miss Nelson is Missing 

By Harry Allard 

How many ‘80s babies remember Miss Nelson is Missing?  I absolutely loved this story.  We all knew what it was like when your favorite teacher was absent, and you ended up stuck with the sometimes-unwanted substitute.  Well, Miss Nelson’s class exaggerated this problem to new levels.  And one other thing, how many of you, like me, still believe Miss Viola Swamp was Miss Nelson in disguise?  Sound off below in the comments. 

Ramona (Novel Series) 

By Beverly Cleary 

I can’t remember one single Beverly Cleary book that I didn’t enjoy.  Her stories were always so quirky and fun.  I do believe Ramona was my introduction to the world of Beverly Cleary.  For me, Mrs. Cleary was definitely my first experience with a connected universe; long before the Marvel movies. 


By James Howe and Deborah Howe 

As I was browsing through my Elementary School’s library, there was no way I was going to pass up on a story about a vampire rabbit.  Bunnicula was both terrifying and bizarre.  As a hard-core Bugs Bunny fan, it was interesting to see such a dark take on such a furry, lovable animal. 

Green Eggs and Ham 

By Dr. Seuss 

I’d be remiss if I compiled a list of my childhood children’s books without mentioning Dr. Suess’s Green Eggs and Ham.  I think we can all recall the discontentment of the main character as he protested Sam-I-Am’s Green Eggs and Ham.  On a side note, I remember trying Green Eggs and Ham as a First-Grade project.  They were so good.  I think it was more food coloring and Rice Krispies treats than actual green eggs, but they definitely brought out the bop in my happy dance. 

Purchase J.E. Tyler's Little Angels now!

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