What was the 1st book you ever read?

I asked my mother this (of me) the other day, wanting to correlate my memory of my first reading experience with hers — and was surprised by the answer.

I’ve long thought the first chapter book I ever read was Charlotte’s Web, when I was about eight. This is what I’ve been telling people for years. Only it turns out it isn’t the case.

My mother tells the tale with conviction. Apparently one day she glanced across at me, all of six years old, and noticed me with my nose buried in Alice in Wonderland. A little surprised, she asked me to read some of it out — which I did promptly.

I remember loving Alice in Wonderland as a child. My grandmother indulged this, and bought me everything Alice one could buy — dolls, pop-up books, playing cards, books about Lewis Carroll… I even have a mug from an exhibition years ago (from when I was considerably more than six).

But I hadn’t remembered this to be my first proper reading experience. And now — although I do remember being a complete and utter bookworm for as long as I can remember — I’m a little surprised I read Alice at age six. I mean, now I look at it as an adult, it’s a little weird and I’m not all that sure I like it.

Funny how one’s perceptions can change, huh? However, I have retained a very strong love of fantasy, so that’s consistent.

So, without further ado, please share your first remembered reading experience with me… How does it reflect your current tastes?

(This post was inspired by the sixth of those 11 questions…)

12 comments

  1. The first book I remember reading was Winnie the Pooh and The Hundred Acre Wood, by A.A. Milne. It was a paperback and it was pink and I must have read it a hundred times. I was about 7.

    My mother tells me that the first book I read was in the dentist’s office and it was a Dr. Suess book, although she can’t recall which one. She thought I was just looking at the pictures, until she had me read aloud to her and realized I was reading it. I was 4.

    I don’t remember that, so I’m sticking with Winnie the Pooh 🙂

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  2. The first book I remember reading by myself was Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume. Our teacher was reading it to us in first grade, and I was sucked in after just a chapter or two. I convinced my parents to buy it for me, and devoured it over the weekend–and haven’t stopped reading since!! 😉

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  3. I don’t really remember the first book I actually read. Might be Frog and Toad Are Friends. Might be a Dr. Seuss book. Might be Harriet the Spy. What really started me on reading was one day when my dad took me to a bookstore. I wanted a Henry Huggins book because our teacher had been reading them to us in class. My dad was like, “No, you should read this book of science fiction stories called ‘Science Fiction Stories’ or something.” I was like, “Okay.” And it turned out the book was pretty awesome. I also read The Hobbit somewhere around the same time. Not long after that, I started borrowing from my dad’s bookshelf, so I was reading Conan stories and stuff by H.P. Lovecraft at a pretty early age.

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    1. My dad read the Hobbit to my sisters and I and then started on LOTR. I remember getting impatient, so ended up reading it myself.

      There certainly wasn’t nearly as much fiction for children available back then, and hardly any sf or fantasy. One had to read the grown up books.

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      1. Yeah, but even if there was more fantasy and sf for children back then, I’m sure I would have spurned it in favor of “the good stuff.” I was pretty lucky. My dad had probably a few hundred paperbacks, so I could always find cool stuff to read. I’d also make discoveries at bookstores on my own, because it was nice to have stuff that was “mine,” rather than “his” 🙂

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  4. The first book I read on my own was Danny and the Dinosaur, which was followed by Sammy the Seal. Gotta love those alliteration books. I think my first chapter book was Charlotte’s Web or a Judy Blume book called Iggie’s House.

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  5. I don’t think I could tell you what the first book I read was – I suspect it was Hungry Caterpillar or similar, but I can tell you which novel I read first: The Stones of Green Knowe, by Lucy M. Boston.

    I must have been 7 or 8. My parents still read to me at night and I’m pretty sure I decided to read this book for myself because I’d been a bit embarrassed by crying my eyes out during Stranger at Green Knowe, which was one of 3 or four in the series.

    Along with the Earthsea books, most of the Narnia series and a few by Alan Garner, these sort of fantasy works (mostly written in the 60s and 70s) are still dear to my heart.

    I imagine kids today start with Artemis Fowl or Harry Potter.

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    1. You know I have NEVER HEARD of the Green Knowe books — how is this possible? And I have never read the Earthsea books either. Wow. Yes I reckon Harry Potter must be up there. I know that’s what has captured my 9YO niece’s imagination, although I don’t think it was the first book she ever read. I’d love to go back to a time when I hadn’t read HP, so I could read it for the first time all over again 🙂

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