Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

Love! To! Read!


I LOVE to read. The fact that I’m a writer might have tipped you off to that little tidbit. I’ve never met a successful writer who didn’t like to read.

I saw on Facebook that a Broken Arrow teacher was honored on an afternoon talk show (I think they said Ellen) and one of my FBF said she wished she’d had a librarian like her. The woman made her want to read.

Aw, man. Don’t you like reading??? My heart hurt for her. (Yeah, I’m weird.)

But that made me wonder . . . why do I love reading?

Was there a teacher who put the reading itch in me? Not one specific one, but in grade school, we had to read 25 books a year.

In second grade, I remember making 25 verbal book reports to the teach. I loved it!

Anyone remember Flicka, Dicka, Ricka books?

1 book

How about Snip, Snap, Snur?

3 book

Not surprisingly, both series were written by the same woman–Maj Lindman. I only recall one book’s story (2nd grade was a long time ago!) but I remember I liked the boy books better than the girl ones. (Hey, riding a sled is a lot more fun than baking a cake, even today!)

While I read those twenty-five books a year, I realized I could become anyone. And I could go anywhere.

I spent an entire Christmas vacation one year reading a chapter book about a girl who owned a horse and the adventures they had. I don’t remember the title, but I remember that book!

In seventh grade, Mrs. Ault read a book to our class (right after lunch) called Rifles for Waite by Harold Keith. I loved listening to her read. The kids in our class disappeared as the story took over.

This is from Wikipedia:

Jeff marches off to Leavenworth from Linn County, Kansas in 1861, on his way to join the Union volunteers. He’s off to fight for the North; his zeal having been fueled by reaction to the guerilla war of “bushwhackers” that was taking place in eastern Kansas.

However, Stand Watie is on the side of the South. We meet many soldiers and civilians on both sides of the war, including Watie’s raiding parties, itinerant printer Noah Babbitt and, in Tahlequah, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) the beautiful Cherokee girl, Lucy Washbourne.

Jeff’s story is notable as he eventually winds up fighting for both the North and the South (while on a special undercover mission) at different times during the conflict while making new friends on each side.

It is also notable for the detailed depiction of contemporary Cherokee life in Indian Territory, including various tribal political factions. During an undercover mission Jeff finds that Captain Asa Clardy of the Union Cavalry is smuggling new Spencer rifles to the Indian forces of Stand Watie.

Keith portrays how Jeff Bussey, in the midst of huge conflicts, had to choose one side or another at various times and how this was not always as simple as it may seem in historical hindsight.

I loved that book. 🙂 Maybe because they visited places in Oklahoma (hey, Grandma lived at Tahlequah!) and not many books at that time did. Or maybe because it was about a kid not too much older than I was who put his life on the line for what he believed. Cool!

Another book memory–The Pink Dress. I LOVED The Pink Dress.

1 a dress

This 1959 book by Anne Alexander is hard to find today. This one is for sale on Amazon for $850! YIKES!!! I won’t be buying it, but it really was a great read for a seventh grader.

The main character was a little older than me and had a boyfriend. One of the first books I read with tons of tension. Will-she-get-the-blame-even-though-she-didn’t-do-it type stuff kept me glued to that book!

I had to see what was going to happen.

Pink Dress was a little dated by the time I read it. In my mind, the boyfriend was a greaser with a ducktail who wore a leather jacket and rode a motorcycle. Even high school bad boys didn’t dress like that anymore. But I felt a little guilty reading it because I knew my mama would never approve of a boy like that! 🙂

Are you a reader?

What books do you remember from your childhood?


Author: Susan Shay

For as long as I can remember, I've loved two things--reading and people--and that led me to become a writer. Many of my stories are set in Small Town Worlds. I'm a wife, mother, sibling and an aunt. I have a deep faith in God, and an exciting life in Christ. Maybe I shouldn't be (after all, he's God!) but I'm constantly amazed at the things He's up to. :)

7 thoughts on “Love! To! Read!

  1. It really IS a small town world. I am from Colcord, Oklahoma. I even attended NSU for awhile before I moved away. One of my favorites is Where the Red Fern Grows, by another Oklahoma author. 🙂

    • Nice to meet you, Tina!
      Funny you mentioned RED FERN. I’ve never read that book, but I saw the movie for the first time a couple of night ago. I LOVED IT! My granddad who lived near Tahlequah was a wolf hunter and had dogs that looked a lot like the ones in the movie.
      I think I’m going to have to read it. 🙂
      Thank you for dropping by my Small Town World! Hope you’ll come back again.

  2. I have been a reader since I discovered my grade school had something called a library. I was a 3rd grader at the time. I thought getting to actually take a book home to read and then swapping it for another was very cool. I remember the first series of books were light blue backed kids versions of biographies such as Lincoln, Washington, George Washington Carver, Robert E. Lee, etc. Today some 60+ years later read 4 or more books per week based on their length. Give me the choice of a good book or TV, I’ll take the book almost without fail.

    • Oh, Steve! Nice to see you!!!
      We must be related. 😉 I LOVED those biographies, too. Had to go to the public library to get them, and they had orange covers, but they’re the ones.
      I read Jane Adams (the prez’s wife) and Jane Addams (she started the first daycares in America) and Will Rogers and Amelia Earhart.
      Oh, and my favorite was Molly Pitcher (Mary Hays). They fought the Revolutionary War near her home. She took water to the American soldiers. Her husband was a soldier and when he fainted shooting a cannon, she took his cannon and finished fighting the battle in his place.
      I loved that story!
      Thanks for touching off a happy memory, Steve. And welcome back!

  3. Oh, yes! I am definitely a book lover! I credit my mom & sister for my love of reading. They always encouraged me to read & to read books that interested me. And they always had plenty of books on hand to choose from! 🙂
    Books I remember from my childhood? There are way too many to list because I read a LOT of books when I was a kid. I do specifically remember enjoying the American Adventure books, Dear America books, & others like that. Historic fiction is the best! 😉

    • One of the joys of having a little brother and four sisters was getting to take them to the library for their very own library cards. As soon as they learned how to read, I’d take them by the hand and off we’d go. Families and reading just goes together, doesn’t it?

I'm so glad you dropped by my Small Town World! Hope you'll leave a comment. I really enjoy hearing from you!

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