Monday, February 22, 2010

Mothers and Daughters

Well, it’s happened. Over the weekend I received an email from a teen who said, “My mom says she remembers reading and really liking one of your books when she was in high school.”
The math adds up. Fortunately the fact her mother liked one of my books apparently didn’t negatively influence the daughter’s reaction to the book she read. She was very kind and it was a fun message to get.

I read Anne of Green Gables for the first time this past year. One of those “should-read” books I could just never bring myself to read. It was my mother’s favorite girlhood book, and I’m pretty sure that’s the reason I resisted. I also remember my mother not being too bothered by my resistance because she had always refused to read the book her mother had loved and pushed on her: On Our Hill, by Josephine Daskam Bacon.

I have my grandmother’s copy of On Our Hill. The book—which appears to be a first edition—was published in 1918. That would mean it wasn’t a childhood favorite of my grandmother’s, just one she must have discovered as a young married woman during the year of her first pregnancy and no doubt hoped to share with a daughter someday. That didn’t happen, but her granddaughter, nearly a century later, is suddenly curious. I may have to give it a whirl.
Oh, by the way—I liked Anne of Green Gables a lot.



  1. Quite a career, Marsha. Your first readers are mothers. You make me realize I want to talk to my mother about her favorite book. I love Anne of Green Gables. Maybe because she blurts things out all the time.

  2. I actively keep many of my girlhood favorites from my older daughter because my self-esteem doesn't need the blow of hearing, say, The Witch of Blackbird Pond called "the Boringest Book Ever." BUT I do leave books I adore that jive with her tastes in conspicuous spots, and when we manage to connect over a book, it's gold, Ponyboy. She did a school report on C. Murdock's (sp?) Dairy Queen that I want to carry in my purse and thrust at people like it's her baby picture.

  3. Congratulations Marsha on reaching the mother-daughter sharing level!

    Last year one of my college illustration students said she remembered my book, Alicia Has a Bad Day from when she was a baby. And another said I visited her kindergarten class. Soon they'll be having babies and will (hopefully) pass my books to a new generation.

    Isn't it kind of exciting, if you can get over the whole weird aging thing?

  4. I found my favorite childhood picture book the other day. I've used every search engine for over twenty years, even Amazon and Abe's Books. Finally it popped up on Abe's out of print for 140 dollars. I couldn't afford it so I ILL'ed, the only copy left in MO. Probably the one I read as a child.
    "Sugarplum," by Johanna Johnston is about a little wooden doll that is always lost in places like the vacuum or a jar of jelly. The illustrations are wonderful. Now days libraries throw old books away, I find this a terrible tragedy. But now I've read the book again it is really the story of my life. How wonderful to find such a gift. Now to save up and get one of the last copies.

  5. This post leans more multi-generational, but I love browsing this website--especially the illustrations.