Don’t Let Anything Happen to That Book

Awhile back I asked everyone to name a book that changed their life. Today I want you to remember a book that means a great deal to you. It doesn’t have to be the same book.

My mother will tell me not to let anything happen to Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories.

She’s been passing off lots of objects to me for some time. As I write this, I’m cooking dinner in her harvest gold crock pot from circa 1972. But she will not relinquish the Uncle Arthur books. I read her copies when I was little. The story I recall most is why every day can’t be Christmas. A child discovers the repetitiveness of every day being a holiday, and seeing people grow poor from too much gift-giving. I think about this story from time to time, for no reason.

I managed to smuggle my favorite storybook of hers (copyright 1948) out of the house, where it enjoys a home in my office. Let’s Pretend by Nila Mack, illustrated by Catherine Barnes is a book that I don’t want anything to happen to. When I was a child, I would open it to see the beautiful princess, and wish she had been drawn with blonde hair. Why couldn’t I wear a cool red velvet dress? I wanted to style my hair with side braids just like hers, although I probably never had that much hair. Thankfully they drew Cinderella as a blonde, increasing my enjoyment of that tale immensely.

Other books I treasure? My Mary Alice Jones Bible lesson books given to me by my grandparents.

Barbie Goes to a Party was a birthday gift.

I also have my grandmother’s Bible she carried to church in the 1930s as a bride, and a large print bible I gave my grandfather when he was in his later years.

I don’t want anything to happen to these books!

Your turn:

What books do you treasure?

34 Responses to Don’t Let Anything Happen to That Book

  1. John de Sousa October 5, 2017 at 4:17 am #

    When I was a child, our family had a book of Bible stories illustrated with Dore’s woodcuts. The pictures were colorized, and captured my heart with their dramatic effect. I have no idea what happened to that book, but I loved it and wish I still had it.

  2. Angela Arndt October 5, 2017 at 4:53 am #

    My childhood books had to be destroyed because of a mold issue in my home, but these still have a prominent place in my heart and mind: Minnow Vail by Winifred E. Wise about a girl who didn’t fit in but used how she was different to win the contest and the heart of the boy, and The Wolfling by Sterling North (author of Rascal) – a coming of age story about a boy who was different and succeeded because of it(see a pattern?). I carried Thoreau’s Walden in my purse from college until I married. Thoreau, in addition to being different, wrote Walden to emphasize how being set apart could help you discover yourself. The expressive language he used to describe nature filled my heart.

    Now I carry my whole library on my phone, and I wouldn’t give anything for my Bible app where I can read several translations at once. Great post, Tamela!

  3. Deborah Raney October 5, 2017 at 5:10 am #

    I have my grandfather’s Bible and it is such a treasure to me. Another book I treasure, even though I don’t have the original copy, is Johanna Spyri’s Heidi. My mother read this book to us five children one long winter, doling out a chapter a night, and making the book last as long as possible. I have a copy with the same illustrations as the one “Mothe” read to us, though none of us are sure what happened to the original. The memories are all the more precious since my mom passed away a year ago this month.

  4. Lisa Evola October 5, 2017 at 5:23 am #

    The book I treasure is “the chosen baby”. Honestly, I don’t remember much from my childhood, but I do recall sitting on the couch with my mother’s arms around me reading that book. It wasn’t the contents…dont even remember the story itself. But I was adopted, and for me it represented how she felt about that. The choice she made to bring me into their lives. It made me feel wanted and loved and i will always treasure those moments in my heart, no matter how hard the rest of them were.
    Recently my mother was cleaning out some things…wouldnt want to leave us with the mess after she is gone she says. Really? Anyway, she had a couple of things for me, and when she opened the trunk, I saw the book in the box that would go to good will. I snatched it up so fast.
    We talked about that book and what it meant to me, and I believe it brought us just a little bit closer that day. I don’t know if I will ever sit down and read it again….it may break the spell of meaning for me to do that. But I know that it will never leave my shelf, or my heart till I too leave on my journey to eternity.
    Thank you for reminding me of that precious moment…

  5. Kari Trumbo October 5, 2017 at 5:41 am #

    This will sound strange, but one of the books that I treasure was given to me by my father for my sixteenth birthday. I fancied myself a little darker and mysterious then. It was the complete works of Edgar Allen Poe. My father haggled with me over that book, insisting that it wasn’t a proper birthday gift for a girl my age. Maybe it wasn’t. But I treasure it just the same.

  6. Sarah Hamaker October 5, 2017 at 5:47 am #

    My collection of Nancy Drew books, including early versions from 1930s/40s. I have a box of the yellow spine ones up in our attic now that my girls have outgrown them. I loved to read about frocks, roadsters and an intrepid girl detective…no wonder I now write romantic suspense!

    Also, the Little Golden books. The early editions (or reprints of originals) still sit on our shelves for visiting youngsters. Favorites of mine: Little Mother, Pussy Willow, and the Tawny, Scrawny Lion. My husband and I took our kids several years ago to see the traveling exhibit of original watercolor illustrations of the first Golden books– we were more enchanted than our kids!

  7. Margo Carmichael October 5, 2017 at 5:52 am #

    A book of short stories that my dad gave me Included a story of a monkey who got away from an organ grinder and climbed into a sick child’s bedroom. I had tonsillitis a lot as a child, so I related. The monkey’s name was Jocko and as an adult, I even named a dog Jocko.
    The Bumper Book is a children’s story book with wonderful illustrations that I still pull out and enjoy now and then as an art ed major.
    As an adult, I love Lost Shepherd by Agnes Sanford. A church is dying on the vine and a woman up the street falls in love with the pastor. He teaches her the depths of the liturgy and she teaches him about the gifts of the Spirit.
    And Appointment in Jerusalem, the autobio of Lydia Prince. She was a prosperous school teacher in Sweden, but felt led to just up and move to Jerusalem in the ’30s. Fascinating true story.
    And finally, A Confederacy of Dunces whose author posthumously won the Pulitzer because his mother kept promoting it. Funny story of a clever eccentric in New Orleans.
    All of these books bring back sweet memories of the times when I first read them. And Lost Shepherd and Appointment also opened my eyes to some wonderful things the Lord is doing.

  8. Sue Raatjes October 5, 2017 at 6:00 am #

    I have every book written by humorist, Erma Bombeck- – seven of them autographed. When my mother died, my sister got her china & I got her E.B. books!

  9. Richard Mabry October 5, 2017 at 6:03 am #

    Tamela, although I had lots of favorites as a child, the book I cherish most is one I encountered as an adult–a signed copy of Being Me by the late Grady Nutt. In it was the expression I learned to turn to when things were tough: “I am me, and I am good, ’cause God don’t make no junk.” I recently sent that book to my daughter, for her to use when times are tough for our granddaughter. .

  10. Kimberly Joy October 5, 2017 at 6:05 am #

    I have the entire collection of “Uncle Author’s Bedtime Stories.” I love, love, LOVE those books! I used to curl up on the worn couch in my grandma’s farmhouse and read them over and over.

  11. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser October 5, 2017 at 6:30 am #

    There are several books I treasure, and they speak to the aesthetic of flight, something like the Zen of surfing, if you’ve ever seen ‘Point Break’.

    They include everything by P.G. (Sir Gordon) Taylor (but especially ‘Call To The Winds’), Richard Bach’s early books (especially ‘Biplane’), and Edwards Park’s ‘Nanette’.

    I needed them when I was younger to help define a transcendent ethos to guide my life.

    And now, I need them even more. No one seriously thinks I will fly again, as cancer beats me to the ground and aims to put me in it. I see solemn faces, and shaking heads, and feel the gentle touch of a hopeless sympathy.

    But there is within me a kernel made up of hope and faith and a kind of Maccabean rage that holds fast to the dream of once more hearing the thunder of the motors and feeling the ground fall away beneath. The words of these my paper friends sustain me, and bid me summon the courage to fight on.

  12. Joey Rudder October 5, 2017 at 6:36 am #

    I have an NIV translation of the Bible that a dear friend signed and gave to me that I don’t ever want to part with…not until I’m at home with the Author.

    Tucked away in a little cubbyhole shelf are my treasured books from the past: Christmas Surprise (A First-Start Easy Reader) that my Mom read to me and I learned to read back to her, Little Rabbit’s Loose Tooth by Lucy Bate, Mouse Soup by Arnold Lobel, Blubber by Judy Blume, and one of my favorites while growing up, James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. I also have a copy of “My Favorite Book” that I found at a library book sale. It’s a book that teaches children about God and was one my Grandma gave me (and I lost?!) when I was eight.

    I have an autographed copy of Home Another Way by Christa Parrish and an old copy of Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe with someone’s signature, dated May 31, 1898 that was abandoned in the house I grew up in after my parents divorce.

    There are so many books to treasure and appreciate. Going back and rereading them is like cracking open an old family album and remembering who I was in those moments and how those characters, who were like family to me, impacted my life.

    Thank you for this post, Tamela. It makes me want to spend a little visiting family. 😉

  13. Loretta Eidson October 5, 2017 at 6:58 am #

    I still have my first full-length Bible my parents gave me when I was twelve years old. I carried it everywhere I went and finally wore the cover off, so it found a new home in a box. During one of my spring cleaning episodes several years ago, I found it and sent it off for a new leather cover.

  14. Diana Harkness October 5, 2017 at 7:18 am #

    The books I cherish are all of those written by Madeleine L’Engle and C.S. Lewis as well as a small book on nature given to me as a child that I haven’t looked at in years and don’t remember the title. But, if I moved, it would certainly go with me.

  15. Melissa Ferguson October 5, 2017 at 7:40 am #

    From childhood on I cherished Max Lucado’s Tell Me The Secret and Tell Me The Story. And they make wonderful baby gifts!

  16. Carol Ashby October 5, 2017 at 8:13 am #

    This is a hard question since I have at least 195 feet of book shelves, some filled two-deep, and at least 20 plastic boxes of my own books in the garage. I gave away another 10 boxes of technical books when I retired. Most could be replaced, but I do treasure my first Bible, a fake-leather King James that closes with a zipper that my mother gave me for Easter when I was 8. It has my name in gold and stunning illustrations, especially the one of Moses destroying the first tablets as the people danced around the golden calf below him. She gave me a Revised Standard Version with a zipper for Christmas when I was 16.

    I continued the tradition by giving our kids first age-appropriate Bible-story books and then Bibles at Easter. My son used ask if I had his shortly before Easter Sunday. Now I give them a yearly devotional each Easter. Perhaps one will become their treasure.

    I also have the children’s edited version of Uncle Tom’s Cabin that my mother had as a girl. She would have been 100 this year. It’s old enough to have come from Great Britain with her mother when she immigrated to Canada. I first read it when I was in grade school. I can see why it galvanized many people into opposition to slavery, as Harriet Beecher Stowe intended when she wrote it.

    One more treasure is the canvas-and-zipper-bound New Testament my dad carried through 33 months of combat in the South Pacific in WWII. He got both the bronze and silver stars at Guadalcanal, so it may have been in some very dangerous places with him. It includes the name of his nearest relative and her address…just in case.

  17. Janet Ann Collins October 5, 2017 at 8:20 am #

    When I went away to college my childhood books were stored in a box in my mother’s basement. Several years later when I got my own apartment I got that box, but discovered he books were covered in mildew and had to be thrown away. However I do still have a few I had taken to college with me, including Heidi, Robin Hood, and The Night Before Christmas.

  18. David Anderson October 5, 2017 at 9:18 am #

    What is it like when the world you know is in immanent danger or catastrophic proportions? A work of mine titled Plague of Terror contains three romances that develop within the plot, and includes the dark elements of Satanists and terrorists. Most readers find Elijah Jordan irresistible. He is an individual of dark skin and blue eyes who suddenly appears and just as quickly is gone. Readers tell me that they are on the edge of their chair by the time the are into the story.

  19. David Anderson October 5, 2017 at 9:19 am #

    What is it like when the world you know is in immanent danger of catastrophic proportions? A work of mine titled Plague of Terror contains three romances that develop within the plot, and includes the dark elements of Satanists and terrorists. Most readers find Elijah Jordan irresistible. He is an individual of dark skin and blue eyes who suddenly appears and just as quickly is gone. Readers tell me that they are on the edge of their chair by the time the are into the story.

  20. Melissa Henderson October 5, 2017 at 10:00 am #

    I collect books by author Grace Livingston Hill. A friend of my parents introduced me to the books when I was a teenager. Now, at 57 years of age, I still enjoy reading and collecting those stories.

  21. Kristi Woods October 5, 2017 at 10:07 am #

    Good Night Richard Rabbit and the book’s flipover story, Good Night Little ABC, bring back many good memories of childhood in Ohio. Debbie and her Dolls by Lois Lenski, although always borrowed from the small, community library, instigated my love of books. Also included on that list is a now well-worn brown NIV (’84) Bible, a high school graduation gift from my church. I love that thing!

  22. Stacy T. Simmons October 5, 2017 at 10:19 am #

    When I was younger, I loved the Children’s Illustrated Bible Story book. The brilliant illustrations captivated me along with the wonderful stories of Noah, and Daniel to name a few. Another treasured book is the family Bible which is kind of an archive in our families history. It stays under the watchful eyes of my Mother and we get to see it when we visit back home. Thank you for bringing some great memories to light.

  23. Rebekah Love Dorris October 5, 2017 at 11:41 am #

    After God’s word that holds the best spots on my phone via the Alexander Scourby app and the Olive Tree Bible, I have several.

    BOOKS WE HOARD: my husband and I treasure the epic body of work by Brock and Bodie Thoene. The collection sits in a sanctified spot in our room. We buy used duplicates for the kids so they don’t lose our copies. They’re that good.

    BOOKS WE TREASURE: Old hymnbooks. A doctor’s book from 1890-something. A 1924 history of America.

    NEW BOOKS: Just released yesterday, The Book of Amazing Stories by Robert A. Petterson. Incredible book of 90 stories that call to mind Paul Harvey, with stunning takeaways. I just reviewed it for Tyndale. You can read the review if you click on my name. This is one I wouldn’t want to loan out without a backup unless I completely trusted the person.

    OTHERS: Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar, The Alliance by Jolina Petersheim, and anything by Chris Fabry or Cathy Gohlke.

    And the Little Red Hen Little Golden Book.

  24. Brennan S McPherson October 5, 2017 at 12:36 pm #

    Tales of the Kingdom by David Mains and Karen Mains! https://www.amazon.com/Tales-Kingdom-David-Mains/dp/1584740507
    My mother read it to me alllllllll the time.

  25. Frenchy Dennis October 5, 2017 at 12:42 pm #

    I wish I had the childhood book that taught me to read. I don’t remember the name, but the first past read: A-Is for Adam. All the letters were Bible names. My favorite adult book will always be “Julie” by Catherine Marshall.

  26. Darlene L. Turner October 5, 2017 at 12:47 pm #

    I have my dear mother’s Bible sitting in my living room. Also, I loved Nancy Drew and although we must have gotten rid of all the books we had as kids, I have a few Nancy Drew books in my office that I’m safekeeping! 🙂

  27. Diana Holvik October 5, 2017 at 1:59 pm #

    It’s hard for me to pick a favourite, but up there would be my grandmother’s Bible. I never knew her, she died four months before I was born, but my mother told many stories about her. And her bible has many notations written in it by her [my grandmother]. Also a Children’s Bible Story Book, which I still have It has beautiful illustrations. One of my favourite pictures when I was a child was that of Daniel in the lion’s den. He was guarded by an angel, and this was no feminine, sweet, fluffy angel, but a muscular man of light holding a scimitar. When I felt afraid I would look at that picture. Other books I love to keep and reread…To Kill A Mockingbird, Georgette Heyer’s books [her romances…i never like her mysteries…too creepy], My collection of beautifully illustrated children’s books, including Ruth Bell Graham’s “One Wintry Night” a retelling of the Christmas story with gorgeous illustrations.

  28. Lynn Abbott October 5, 2017 at 4:17 pm #

    Oh, my! I love your mom! The underlying inspiration for my art and blog is Uncle Arthur’s Bible Book. In fact, I’ve even highlighted that spectacular book in my blog profile. So, I’m sure you can imagine my delight as I read the opening to your wonderful post! Love this. Thank you. I am so encouraged and inspired by your writing here. God bless you big time!

  29. Loraine Nunley October 5, 2017 at 4:27 pm #

    There are a few books that I treasure, but your post reminded me of recent conversations that I’ve been having with my children about the books I read to them when they were little. One of them that I’ve put away in a special place was ‘The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear’. My kids wanted me to read it so often that I had it memorized. I think I can still recite it after all of these years. 🙂

  30. Judi Clarke October 5, 2017 at 5:13 pm #

    When I recently made a 4,000 mile move by airplane, I had to leave many special books behind temporarily. What I thought would be a four-month wait is approaching a year now, and I miss my books by C.S. Lewis, Henri Nouwen, Ken Gire, and Jan Johnson.
    But the books that I would not leave behind but instead packed into a carry-on bag include: my great-grandmother’s leather bound New Testament with the finely crocheted cross bookmark, both given to me before she died when I was 10; Nana’s leather bound Bible; three of Grandpa’s elementary schoolbooks (dated 1887-1918 and bearing his boyish-to-young man signatures); Nana’s grade book from when she was a Music teacher in the public schools (she taught her future brother-in-law); and a beautiful, antique copy of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.
    The book I wish I had retained from my childhood is, I believe, a Golden Book called “A Penny for Pony.” It’s about a pony who inquires all over the farm asking what a penny is. Each animal gives him a different description leading him to think a penny must be the reflection of the sun in the pond and other incorrect items. One day, a little girl with red hair came to the farm looking for a pony to love. Her name was Penny, and the horse finally had a “Penny” of his own.

  31. Tamela Hancock Murray October 5, 2017 at 6:34 pm #

    I have enjoyed reading each and every one of these responses. We are all so different, yet have so much in common. Love my blog readers!

  32. Deb Santefort October 5, 2017 at 6:46 pm #

    I am saving two brand new copies of BETTY BUNNY LOVES CHOCOLATE CAKE to give to my daughters when they are adults. I, on the other hand, will always treasure our worn copy.

  33. Carrie Ann October 6, 2017 at 6:38 am #

    As a little girl, I received a birthday gift of the Vintage Little House Children’s Books Complete Series 9 Book Boxed Set (Paperback) 1971 & 1970s. I still have them, and won’t part ways even though they’re pretty worn, but they’re worth more than jewels to me! 🙂

  34. Hannah October 10, 2017 at 11:12 pm #

    I have several I don’t know if I could ever part with, most of them childhood books. The “golden” books, like “The Biggest most beautiful Christmas tree” or “The night before Christmas” (Do you sense a theme? haha!) or similar books are ones I’d want to keep for future generations.

    I also don’t think I could ever get rid of my original Nancy Drews and Boxcar Children.

    But my favorite, I think is my dad’s old and worn fabric-wrapped single-bound collection of all of the Sherlock Holmes stories.

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