Name That Book

N.C. Wyeth cover illustration

“What books influenced you as a child?”

Good question. I’d never really given it any thought, so when someone asked me that recently, I didn’t have a ready answer.

Then I remembered Mrs. Babcock, the librarian at the Rochambeau Branch Public Library in Providence. She rescued me when I was at that awkward age—too old for Nancy Drew and Jo March, too young for Jane Eyre and Elizabeth Bennet. With some trepidation, Mrs. Babcock directed me to “boys’ books”—sports biographies and adventure stories.

Thank you, Mrs. Babcock!

Now I understand which books were important to me then—The Last of the Mohicans, by James Fenimore Cooper, because it was the first book I read that made history (or a fictionalized version of it) come alive; and the biographies of Roy Campanella and Pee Wee Reese, because until I read them, I had no idea that non-fiction could be exciting.

Tell me: what books influenced you when you were growing up?

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