In Others’ Words: Storytellers


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“If a nation loses its storytellers, it loses its childhood.”
—Peter Handke (1942), Australian novelist

My childhood was full of books.

I whiled away many an hour, turning pages, lost in an imaginary world. And, yes, I was one of those kids who walked and read at the same time. And who didn’t hear a word anyone was saying if my nose was stuck in a book — which was quite often.

As a mom, I wanted my children to love reading too. So my husband and I surrounded them with books. And read to them. Old favorites and new favorites. Anytime was reading time. And I always managed to find money in the budget for books.

Now I’m an author.  And while I don’t write children’s books, I do consider myself a storyteller — and my journey along the writing road was inspired by those authors I read as a child. And I just came back from the ACFW conference — where I was surrounded by writers and authors who were all about story. Their stories. Others’ stories. It was a huge celebration of the wonder (and the work!) of story.

In Others’ Words: Writers, were you a voracious reader growing up? One and all: What are some of your favorite childhood books?


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  1. September 26, 2012, 6:39 am   /  Reply

    As a child, I always had my nose in a book. Imaginary worlds were my playgrounds. I could solve the best mysteries with Nancy. As I grew older, my love of books deepened. When I had children, I read to them constantly. My oldest son wasn’t attached to a pacifier, blanket or favorite toy. Instead he had to have books with him when he went to bed. Both of our boys are long-term readers.

    • Beth Vogt
      September 26, 2012, 8:11 am   /  Reply

      “Imaginary worlds were my playgrounds.”
      Well-said, LJ.

    • Jeanne
      September 26, 2012, 1:33 pm   /  Reply

      Mine always had books with them for naps, Lisa. 🙂

      • Beth Vogt
        September 26, 2012, 8:37 pm   /  Reply

        So … did they take naps, Jeanne?

  2. September 26, 2012, 7:18 am   /  Reply

    Oh yes, I was a crazy bookworm as a kid. Still am. I read Nancy Drew like crazy as a kid. 🙂

    • Beth Vogt
      September 26, 2012, 8:11 am   /  Reply

      All my girls liked Nancy Drew, Melissa. Funny thing: I didn’t read her. I think my twin sister did, though.

  3. Jeanne
    September 26, 2012, 7:33 am   /  Reply

    I was, and am, a voracious reader. I walked and read at the same time too. 🙂 Especially when I had a long walk from school to home in junior high. My mom set the example for establishing a love of reading. My favorite little girl book was Runaway Bunny. As I grew older, I loved reading mysteries (Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, Beverly Grey), teen fiction and paranormal. 🙂

    • Beth Vogt
      September 26, 2012, 8:12 am   /  Reply

      Oh, I love Runaway Bunny!!

  4. September 26, 2012, 7:51 am   /  Reply

    Yes, you are a gifted consummate storyteller and aid others. I was such a voracious reader growing up–thankfully living right across the street from a small library. My grandchildren are being taught to cherish books, too; and to compose their own stories.

    • Beth Vogt
      September 26, 2012, 8:12 am   /  Reply

      Dee, encouragement flows out of you like a spring of refreshing water!

  5. September 26, 2012, 8:14 am   /  Reply

    Increased as I grew. Fell head over heels in college.
    ~ Wendy

    • Beth Vogt
      September 26, 2012, 8:33 pm   /  Reply

      Love the way you string words together, Wendy.

  6. Alena Tauriainen
    September 26, 2012, 8:37 am   /  Reply

    Oh my! Yes, I was a voracious reader. It began at first as a way to pass the time but evolved from there. Now most of my children are readers. And yes, they totally ignore you if their nose is in a book. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. hehe. You should see the stack of books they got at ACFW!

    • Beth Vogt
      September 26, 2012, 8:34 pm   /  Reply

      OO00h … I can only imagine the fun they had in the bookstore, Alena!

  7. September 26, 2012, 9:42 am   /  Reply

    Yes! I always tried to read at the dinner table, but my mom wouldn’t let me since it was family time. 🙂 And whenever we’d go to the library, I’d check out like 25 books each time. And read them before visiting again. Voracious is an understatement.

    I loved lots of books, but the Babysitters Club series, Anne of Green Gables, and the Little House books were some faves.

    • Beth Vogt
      September 26, 2012, 8:35 pm   /  Reply

      I loved Anne of Green Gables too — and the PBS series did a great job of adapting the books. I read the Little House series to my kids 4 or 5 times–the entire series.

  8. September 26, 2012, 10:18 am   /  Reply

    I loved reading as a kid! One of my favorites was, “Where the Wild Things Are”, which was recently made into a movie. That story transported my imagination into a different land and time where magical things happened. I haven’t seen the movie and don’t plan to. I want to preserve the places my imagination took me without relying on someone else’s interpretation. 🙂

    • Beth Vogt
      September 26, 2012, 8:35 pm   /  Reply

      Sometimes a book needs to stay a book, Donna.

  9. September 26, 2012, 10:45 am   /  Reply

    Books. The word alone brings up so many wonderful images. Thanks for the post reminding us of our childhood love of reading. Isn’t it wonderful that we can hold on to this habit throughout life and glean so many benefits from it? It’s been a few…ahem…years so I can’t remember a lot of actual titles from childhood. Yes, Nancy Drew was one author. Another one had Betsy, Tacy, Tib characters in a series?

    • Beth Vogt
      September 26, 2012, 8:35 pm   /  Reply

      Oh, oh, oh … now I’m trying to remember the title of that series …

  10. September 26, 2012, 10:48 am   /  Reply

    I used to have reading contests with my sister every summer to see who could read the most books in the summer. Really fun. I think our highest was 118.

    Fun Post, Beth!

    • Beth Vogt
      September 26, 2012, 8:36 pm   /  Reply

      Impressive count, Michelle!

  11. September 26, 2012, 11:43 am   /  Reply

    Hope you had fun at ACFW! Wish I could have been there!

    I remember being SO excited when I discovered our elementary school library! And my parents allowed me to join the Scholastics Book Club–as you said, Beth, somehow they made room in the budget for me to buy books. I read lots of animal stories–books about dogs and horses; Nancy Drew, of course; and A Wrinkle in Time was my all-time favorite childhood read.

    • Beth Vogt
      September 26, 2012, 8:36 pm   /  Reply

      You know, I never read A Wrinkle in Time. I keep meaning to.
      And my youngest daughter loves to read animal stories. Loves ’em.

  12. September 26, 2012, 1:25 pm   /  Reply

    Oh my goodness, yes! We used to make a weekly trip to the library, and we’d max out the number of books we could take home. I have pictures of me with piles and piles of books.

    • Beth Vogt
      September 26, 2012, 8:37 pm   /  Reply

      Would love to see one of those pictures, Sarah!

  13. September 26, 2012, 3:56 pm   /  Reply

    My Mom instilled a love of reading in me and I’ve tried to do the same for my girls. That was the only request that might delay bedtime: “Mommy, read me another story.” I have lots of hobbies and I love sports but nothing surpasses my love of reading. Well, except my husband:) My favorite story when I was growing up was Christopher Robin and Pooh Bear.

    • Beth Vogt
      September 26, 2012, 8:37 pm   /  Reply

      Ah, nothing like Winnie the Pooh … such adventures for a bear of little brain …

  14. September 26, 2012, 5:10 pm   /  Reply

    Hi Beth,

    I grew up on the mission field where we had no television and we were pretty isolated. Books WERE my friends. I lived vicariously through the written word…and I must admit, I often still do.

    Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames, The Hardy Boys, Anne (with an e) of Green Gables, Bilbo and friends, Little Women, Laura Ingalls Wilder, the list goes on and on. These were my childhood friends and I still love to introduce them to my children, and hopefully, someday soon to my grandchildren.

    Fun post – blessings, my friend,

    • Beth Vogt
      September 26, 2012, 8:38 pm   /  Reply

      So many wonderful friends you had, Becky!
      I read Cherry Ames — wow, what a life she led, eh? I had no interest in nursing beyond the covers of a Cherry Ames novel.

  15. September 26, 2012, 7:33 pm   /  Reply

    I learn to read before I started school (started with the Sunday Comics). But since I wasn’t in school, I couldn’t get a library card. I remember how proud I was when I got that card! Then later, my cousins and I would have reading contests every summer after it got too hot to rip and romp. Books have taken me places I’ll never get to go to.

    • Beth Vogt
      September 26, 2012, 8:57 pm   /  Reply

      I remember loving the day I got my library card too — and I was excited when my kiddos go theirs too!

  16. September 26, 2012, 10:26 pm   /  Reply

    Trips to the library were such a treat when I was a kid. I loved the Little House books, Little Women (in part, because Jo was a writer), Beverly Cleary’s books, Harriet, the Spy (because she was a writer), the Nancy Drew mysteries, the Bobbsey Twins book, and more. When I was a teen, I discovered Harlequin romances (when they were squeaky clean) and knew I’d found my genre. I’m all about romance. No wonder I write it now. =)

  17. Ganise
    September 27, 2012, 4:55 pm   /  Reply

    Hi Beth!
    Excellent reminder — reading is a very important thing! (Especially to an avid reader 😉 I like that you encouraged your children to take interest in it. There’s knowledge and general enrichment to be found there.
    And guess who just so happen to be finally reading and enjoying your debut?! Started today and am already close to the 200th page!

    Alright, Beth!


  18. September 28, 2012, 12:03 pm   /  Reply

    I’ve always loved books. Little House, Nancy Drew.

    And later, Lord of the Rings. My dad would sit in the hall between my room and my brother’s and read the entire series, from The Hobbit thru Return of the King to us. I still remember when Eowyn kills the King of the Wraiths, how in awe of her I was. She has been my all-time heroine ever since.

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