Looking Back: An Elementary School Reading List from 1967

From September 1967 to June 1968, I was in the third grade at Canoas Elementary School in the Meadowbrook tract (now Canoas Garden neighborhood) in Willow Glen. My classroom was A-3, and my teacher was Mrs.Keith. After our lunchtime recess (which was the longest), we would all return to class sweaty and wound-up. Rather than starting right back in with subjects like math or history, Mrs. Keith would read to us while we unwound and settled back in.

Thinking back on all of the great books that Mrs. Keith read to us, I’ve tried to remember as many of them as I can.  I'm not sure of the order in which these were read, though I recall Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary being the first:

 

Image: Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary. A fun story about a boy and his dog named Ribsy.

Image: Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary. A fun story about a boy and his dog named Ribsy.

 

Image: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. A couple of my favorite parts were when Tom tricked his friends into doing work for him, and when he gave a girl he liked a brass door knob.

Image: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. A couple of my favorite parts were when Tom tricked his friends into doing work for him, and when he gave a girl he liked a brass door knob.

Image: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. This book was my favorite from the selection that Mrs. Keith read to us. It was later made into an amazing movie featuring Gene Wilder (entitled Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory).

Image: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. This book was my favorite from the selection that Mrs. Keith read to us. It was later made into an amazing movie featuring Gene Wilder (entitled Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory).

 

Image: Charlotte's Web by E. B. White. This is a beautiful, classic tale of friendship.

Image: Charlotte's Web by E. B. White. This is a beautiful, classic tale of friendship.

 

Image: My Side of the Mountain by Jean George. The fictional adventures of a boy who left his family in the big city to live on his own in the wilderness.

Image: My Side of the Mountain by Jean George. The fictional adventures of a boy who left his family in the big city to live on his own in the wilderness.

 

Image: Old Yeller by Fred Gipson. Yet another wonderful book, though one with a sad ending. 

Image: Old Yeller by Fred Gipson. Yet another wonderful book, though one with a sad ending.

These were all great books for different reasons, and I’m sure that our teacher Mrs. Keith put a lot of thought into both the selection and the order in which she read them. I’ve always loved books and reading, and I always tried to take reading classes whenever I attended summer school. What are some of your favorite books from childhood?

 

Image: Here I am with my classmates and Mrs. Keith (I'm in the bottom row, far left). I can still remember everyone's name. I remember Sydney Cooper and I once professing our love for each other out on the playground one warm, sunny day. Afterwards we just stood there smiling at one another for the longest time. Sydney's in the top row, third from the right.

Image: Here I am with my classmates and Mrs. Keith (I'm in the bottom row, far left). It's funny, but almost fifty years later I can still recall everyone's name (and I'm not that good with names!).

 

Further Reading in the California Room:

 

 

Comments

Thanks for sharing this wonderful memory. I loved My Side of the Mountain when I was a kid and all the other great survival adventures--Julie of the Wolves, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Call of the Wild, Hatchet. I wanted to be stranded in the wilderness so bad :)

Add new comment

Comments are expected to follow the basic rules of civility and be relevant to the topic being commented upon. Comments will be reviewed prior to posting. Blog comments represent the views of the person commenting, not necessarily those of San José Public Library. For more information see SJPL's Comment Guidelines.

1 + 1 =