Slice of Life Story Challenge Day 24 - Graduating To Grown Up Books

This morning as I perused the shelves of books in my study, my eye fell upon a book that represented a watershed moment in my life as a reader...

Do you remember your first grown up book as a child? I still have my copy of ‘The Complete Adventures of Blinky Bill’ an Australian classic originally published in 1939 by Dorothy Wall. Way back in Grade two, our teacher began reading this chunky volume of stories. It became a rite of passage for every one of us to have a personal copy. What a memorable moment it turned out to be.

It begins:
'The bush was alive with excitement. Mrs Koala had a brand new baby, and the news spread like wildfire. The kookaburras in the highest gum trees heard it, and laughed and chuckled at the idea. In and out of burrows rabbits came scuttling, their big brown eyes opening wide with wonder as they heard the news…’

'The Complete Adventures of Blinky Bill' has been enjoyed by generations of young Australians and is still in publication today. It is now a television series. Importantly, it provided my entre into a more sophisticated life as a reader.

Following Blinky Bill, my family thought I was ready to step up into something pithier; more challenging. They gave me Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Kidnapped’ and followed up with ‘Treasure Island.' They followed up with 'Robinson Crusoe.'  I considered these books so grown up as to be daunting. There were no bridging novels for younger readers. You stepped straight into weighty hard cover classics.

All those words, and oh so many pages! To this small boy it was the literary equivalent of scaling Everest. They represented a huge departure from cute, cuddly Koalas! It did however feed my childhood fascination with matters piratical. Arrrh! I pressed on and my reading journey took its next important step. My reading stamina improved, my reading muscles grew. I could read long books! Phew!

I’ll stop here, I have more book browsing to do…


  1. Thank you for the trip down memory lane. I remember our year 3 teacher reading us Blinky Bill. It is a classic and sits on my childeren's bookshelf.

  2. I remember my second and third grade teachers reading to me but couldn't tell you any titles. I do remember though in fourth grade when our teacher started readin books-Freckle Juice, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Blubber...She is/was the teacher who inspired me to be a teacher. I have copies of the "I can read" books that my mom subscribed to but sadly, I don't have y.a. novels I read when I was in school...

  3. I remember that move from the children's section of the library into the adult world. I actually stalked the grown ups too soon.
    But I did begin my move with Ivanhoe because that's the book my mom began with. I think I carried it around more than I took it on... but it was exciting.
    Thanks for digging up those memories Alan.

  4. Alan,
    I am reading "The Adventures of Reddy Fox" by Thorton Burgess to my first graders. Thorton Burgess wrote about all the little critters in the meadows and forests in his Bedtime stories. Peter Rabbit, Blacky Crow, and Grandfather Frog are just a few of the many characters. Your book sounds similar. These books have been part of my entire teaching career and I also read them to our two sons.
    I could not tell you what my first chapter book was. I read all the series of the time (Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Donna Parker, Bobsey Twins, etc.) I find it very interesting that you still have that book. What a treasure for you to feast your eyes upon allowing you to go back in time and savor those memories.

  5. The first read aloud I remember was in third grade - Misty of Chinquoteague. (I'm sure I'm spelling that wrong).

    I don't know what my first official chapter book were, but I know I read the Narnia books early and they left a lasting impression.

  6. I remember reading everything I could get my hands on, but no specific 'bridge' as you speak about so avidly. I read the Betsy-Tacy books and moved into Nancy Drew and then I do remember loving The Swiss Family Robinson. I still love survival books! Thanks for sharing How To Be An Explorer of The World. I have it, as do several of the staff. It is another book that fits our needs of curiosity building so well. The illustrations are terrific. Thanks, Alan!

  7. My first real books had to be Trixie Belden (girl detective), Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, then Bobbsey twin books followed by Nancy Drew. I don't remember not reading. What meaty reading you got as a child.

  8. I love this post since it made me think of the books from my childhood. And then I saw Elsie's comment and realized that she and I basically read (and loved) all of the same books! I'll add The Secret Garden and Little Women to the list, too!

  9. The literary equivalent of scaling Mt. favorite line. What a great memory! Thanks for sharing. A great story for your students to hear!

  10. I felt like I first saw you under this pile of words, daunting as you put it. Then, there you were, standing on them, your stamina growing. You accomplishing the impossible. Such a great achievement and an Everest like foundation for you to stand on as a reader. (I loved the Everest line in your last paragraph).

  11. So many stories. I could picture the excitement, the pride , the accomplishment. What a great memory.


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