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Children's literature: reading it, writing it, and loving it!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Kidlit Picks: Where the Red Fern Grows

Growing up, I had this idea that books about dogs and horses were boys' books, off-limits to girls unless you were a tomboy, which I most definitely was not. I loved dogs and thought horses were pretty cool too, but I refused to read books about them - with the exception of Beautiful Joe.

I loved the story, but I had only read it as a last resort. I'd devoured all of my library books and was unable to get to the library to replace them, so I roamed my siblings' rooms in a desperate search and found Beautiful Joe on my sister's bookshelf (yes, my sister had a boy's book on her shelf! Gasp!). I read it in the absence of a proper girl's book such as Nancy Drew...desperate times calling for desperate measures and all that.

Sadly, even my love of Beautiful Joe didn't change my mind about other dog stories. I didn't even read the classic animal stories to my kids. Perhaps if I had, my son would have become a reader sooner. Recently, my YA (Young Adult) book club read Where the Red Ferns Grow, and I now see the error of my ways. This is a beautiful, heart-wrenching story about a boy and his dogs. It's a story about hard work, determination, delayed gratification, faith, family, and love. It's a book to treasure and to read and re-read with your children and grandchildren or simply for the pure pleasure of it.

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