Lena Dunham’s much-talked-about HBO documentary, It’s Me, Hilary: The Man Who Drew Eloise recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. A portrait of Hilary Knight, the creator and artist behind the classic children’s series Eloise, it inspired a trip down memory lane to the books that we loved when we were youngsters—books that continue to have a place in our hearts.
The princess of the Plaza Hotel herself. The irrepressible and irresistible six-year-old lives with her British nanny, her dog Weenie, and her turtle Skipperdee in the heart of New York City. Though she often makes a nuisance of herself—riding elevators, dragging sticks along the walls as she roller-skates down the corridors—she is the little troublemaker we all wish we could have been. This oldie is always a goodie.
Strega Nona, or “Grandma Witch,” is her village’s source for potions, cures, magic, and comfort. Her magical and ever-full pasta pot is especially intriguing to Big Anthony, who is supposed to look after her house and garden. One day, when she goes over the mountain, Big Anthony recites a magic verse over the pasta pot, with disastrous results.
Peggy Parish’s hilariously scatterbrained maid is an adored part of many a childhood. Whether she’s trying to fit a shirt over her “well-dressed” chicken or dusting the furniture with dust, her exploration and misinterpretations of the English language have been delighting young readers for over fifty years.
Billy Colman roams the Ozarks of northeastern Oklahoma with his bluetick hounds, trying to “tree” the elusive raccoon. The inseparable trio wins the gold cup in the annual coon-hunt contest and bravely fights with a mountain lion. When the victory over the mountain lion turns to tragedy, Billy learns the beautiful old Native American legend of the sacred red fern that grows over the graves of his dogs.
Five young sisters experience life in New York’s Lower East Side at the beginning of the twentieth century. The close-knit group encounters everyday realities such as boring chores, missing library books, and trips to the Rivington Street market, as well as those details that bring the early 1900’s to life—scarlet fever, peddlers, and bathing at Coney Island.
Though it’s been ghostwritten by a number of different authors since the first book appeared in 1930, the Nancy Drew series has been inspiring girls and boys alike for almost a century. From finding out The Secret of the Old Clock to exploring The Mystery of the 99 Steps, Nancy always embodied intelligence, grace, and charm.
One of Judy Blume’s best. Nothing is simple for Peter Hatcher. He is far from overjoyed at the turn the family fortunes are taking; he’ll be spending the sixth grade far from his favorite places and people, and his unruly little brother, nicknamed Fudge, will no longer be the baby of the family. How will Peter ever survive if his new sibling is a carbon copy of Fudge?
A part of the beloved Dear America series, Dreams In The Golden Country follows Zipporah Feldman, a twelve-year-old Jewish immigrant from Russia who uses diary entries to chronicle her family’s activities as they acclimate to life in New York City’s Lower East Side.