Each February, a school I once worked at has a yearly reading celebration. It’s an “I Love Reading” theme all month with book fairs, author visits, writing workshops, reading contests, and guests each day sharing an answer to the question of the month. They invited me back again to participate. The question I have to answer in front of kids and adults is “What book in your growing up years propelled you to a lifetime of loving to read?”
I’m glad I got the question early because at first it was a difficult one to answer. I was not much into reading fiction in my elementary years. Non-fiction was my specialty. I loved the fact that I didn’t have to read a book in order or read every line – only what interested me. But what they want is a title that I can hold up and show a classroom of 4th, 5th, and 6th graders.
I scanned my brain and visions appeared of me reading the newspaper with my dad. He was a journalist and each morning a newspaper was delivered to the porch, and at that time we had two daily papers competing for our attention. Plenty of reading material. Who had time for books? Since I’m not going to hold up a newspaper I had to dig deeper for the book that hooked me on fiction.
I went to several bookshelves in my home for an answer. One is actually a mantle in the kitchen where many of my favorite past reads end up. Nothing there. Another is in my home office where a built-in corner bookshelf is filled with books from floor to ceiling. Mostly research and college books. The last location is where the memories came back
In a guest bedroom there is a stand-alone four-shelf bookcase. It is filled with books I’ve read but haven’t given away. Many times someone asks to borrow a book from these shelves and I always say yes with the condition they don’t give it back and share it with another reader after they are finished. I glanced at the titles, some old some new, and in the lower corner were three books, the ones that got me reading fiction.
Yes, The Hardy Boys. I was in 5th, maybe 6th grade and a friend said I had to read the first one. I did and liked the exciting sleuthing tales of Frank and Joe Hardy so much I read the next two within a week. But then I stopped. By the time middle school began I got interested in other books and never returned despite having 187 sequels to choose from. The series is still popular worldwide today, but I’ll stay with the first three, the ones that sparked my love of fiction.
HARDY BOYS FACTS
- The author, Franklin W. Dixon, never existed. All the books since their inception in 1927 were written by ghostwriters.
- The Hardy Boys have been featured in five separate television programs
- Next month Simon and Schuster will release the eighth book in the HARDY BOYS ADVENTURE SERIES titled DECEPTION ON THE SET. These books are different from the originals as they are told with alternating first person POV. The originals were all third person.