Since I have a category about difficult childhoods, I felt I needed to balance it out by recommending some books about happy childhoods. I had a happy childhood, and I hope I am giving my son one too. To me, a happy childhood is one where you know your parents love you, you had a sense of wonder and innocence about the world, and you had an inner life that nourished you. These books capture those feelings and make you laugh in the process. If you are in the mood for a feel good book, these will do the trick!
- A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small In Mooreland, Indiana by Haven Kimmel
- The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir by Bill Bryson
- Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories And Other Disasters by Jean Shepard
A little bit more information on each book…
The title pretty much says it all, but it doesn’t tell you how amazingly well-written this book is and how endearing the author, family and town is. I fell in love with this book when I first read it, and I reread it every few years just to revisit the world that Kimmel describes with such love. There is a follow-up book — She Got Up Off The Couch — that chronicles the author’s mother’s “radical” (for the times) college education and what she went through to get it.
I pretty much enjoy anything that Bill Bryson writes so it was a no-brainer when he put out a memoir of his childhood. My dad — who grew up about the same time as Bryson — thought it was pitch perfect for someone who grew up in the 1950s. And I loved it as much as a my dad. Just an enjoyable easy read about a happy childhood by one of my all-time favorite writers.
My dad gave me this book when I was growing up, and I thought it was absolutely hilarious. I later found out that a few of the stories from this book were turned into the classic holiday film A Christmas Story. Just a wonderfully written, hilarious account of growing up — with a tall tale aspect to it that just elevates the stories to pure fun!