Rereading Our Childhood

Mary Grace McGeehan and Deborah Kalb

Revisiting the books that made us who we are today

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Episodes

Rereading The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Feb 22 2024
Rereading The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
On this episode, Mary Grace and Deborah discuss The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster's 1961 classic about Milo, a boy who's bored with life until a mysterious tollbooth takes him and his electric car to The Lands Beyond, where he meets the warring kings of Dictionopolis and Digitopolis and many other memorable characters. Jules Feiffer's numerous illustrations are as important a part of the story as the text.This is the last episode of our first season. We'll be back in May. Mentioned on this episode:The Dot and the Line (1963), written and illustrated by Norton JusterThe Odious Ogre (2010) by Norton Juster, illustrated by Jules FeifferHarold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett JohnsonThe New York Times Book Review podcast's 2020 interview with Jules Feiffer, where he talks about his friendship and collaboration with JusterJuster's 2021 New York Times obituaryA 2015 Smithsonian Magazine  profile on Juster where he discusses his synesthesiaRecommended for fans of The Phantom Tollbooth:Half Magic by Edward Eager The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum and the other Oz booksAlice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll The podcast is hosted by Buzzsprout at rereadingourchildhood.buzzsprout.com and is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other podcast platforms.You can find Debby’s author interviews on her blog, Books Q&A by Deborah Kalb, and Mary Grace’s adventures in the 1920s on her blog, My Life 100 Years Ago.This episode was edited by Adam Linder of Bespoken Podcasting.#children's booksPodcast website at rereadingourchildhood.com
Rereading A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Oct 5 2023
Rereading A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Mary Grace and Deborah reread Madeleine L'Engle's 1962 classic A Wrinkle in TIme, about...well, it's hard to describe what it's about. A troubled girl. A missing father. A genius brother. Three mysterious women. Interplanetary adventure. An evil, throbbing brain. None of this does justice to a book that two science fiction-hating girls ended up loving, and that their grown-up selves had a wonderful time returning to. Discussed on this episode:Listening for Madeleine, Leonard Marcus's book of interviews with people in L'Engle's life. Cynthia Zarin's controversial 2004 New Yorker profile of L'Engle.The ALA website listing the 100 most challenged books of the 1990s, with A Wrinkle in Time at #23. The recent PEN America report on book banning in the United States. A 2001 New York Times interview with L'Engle.The trailer to the 2018 movie version of A Wrinkle in Time.The Paris Review blog post where Mary Grace read that Madeleine L'Engle rewrote her novel A House Like a Lotus to give it a new protagonist. The podcast is hosted by Buzzsprout at rereadingourchildhood.buzzsprout.com and is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other podcast platforms. You can find Debby’s author interviews on her blog, Books Q&A by Deborah Kalb, and Mary Grace’s adventures in the 1920s on her blog, My Life 100 Years Ago.This episode was edited by Adam Linder of Bespoken Podcasting.#children's booksPodcast website at rereadingourchildhood.com
Rereading The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald
Sep 21 2023
Rereading The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald
Deborah and Mary Grace read John D. Fitzgerald’s 1967* novel The Great Brain, the first book in the series featuring John, the narrator, and his older brother Tom, the eponymous Great Brain, who wreaks havoc on their late 19th-century Utah town with his devious moneymaking ventures. Mentioned on this episode:The Amazon review that gives parents a heads-up about disturbing content in the book. Mary Grace recommends the Encyclopedia Brown books, featured on a previous episode, for fans of The Great Brain. She also recommends Two Are Better than One and Louly, by Carol Ryrie Brink, which are set in a small Idaho town in the early 20th century. Deborah recommends the Henry Reed series, also featured on a previous episode.A June 2023 article by New York Times opinion writer Carlos Lozada, who was born in Peru, about his love for The Great Brain, which he read after his family moved to the United States. Lozada jumps into the article’s comments section to share more Great Brain love with readers.The podcast is hosted by Buzzsprout at rereadingourchildhood.buzzsprout.com and is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other podcast platforms.You can find Deborah’s author interviews on her blog, Books Q&A by Deborah Kalb, and you can find Mary Grace’s adventures in the 1920s on her blog, My Life 100 Years Ago.This episode was edited by Adam Linder of Bespoken Podcasting.*Mary Grace says incorrectly that it was published in 1969.#children's booksPodcast website at rereadingourchildhood.com
Rereading Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol
Aug 24 2023
Rereading Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol
Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective, which was published in 1963, is the first of Donald J. Sobol’s 29-book series featuring Encyclopedia, the boy detective who always gets his man (or boy, or girl). The solution to each crime is revealed at the end of the book. In this episode, Deborah and Mary Grace match wits with Encyclopedia, and with each other, in identifying the culprits.Discussed on this episode:The full Encyclopedia Brown series on Goodreads.Two-Minute Mysteries, a collection of Sobol’s syndicated columns for adultsSobol’s New York Times obituary, published on July 16, 2012Mary Grace recommends the Danny Dunn books for fans of Encyclopedia Brown. (Clarifications: Danny Dunn does not, in fact, go to the moon, as Mary Grace thought he might have, but he does go to outer space in Danny Dunn and the Anti-Gravity Paint. Also, the scientist in the book is not his uncle but his mother’s employer, Professor Bullfinch.(Deborah recommends the Henry Reed books for Encyclopedia fans. We discussed Henry Reed, Inc. on the third episode of Rereading Our Childhood.The podcast is hosted by Buzzsprout at rereadingourchildhood.buzzsprout.com and is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other podcast platforms. You can listen to it on Buzzsprout here.You can find Deborah’s author interviews on her blog, Books Q&A by Deborah Kalb, and you can find Mary Grace’s adventures in the 1920s on her blog, My Life 100 Years Ago.This episode was edited by Adam Linder of Bespoken Podcasting.#children's booksPodcast website at rereadingourchildhood.com
Rereading "B" is for Betsy by Carolyn Haywood
Aug 10 2023
Rereading "B" is for Betsy by Carolyn Haywood
Mary Grace and Deborah celebrate the beginning of a new school year by rereading "B" is for Betsy,, Carolyn Haywood's 1939 novel about a little girl navigating the complicated world of first grade. It was the first in a long series of books about Betsy and her friends.Mentioned on this episode:  The twelve books in the Betsy series,  on Goodreads Haywood's Eddie series, on GoodreadsHaywood's Penny series, on Goodreads Mary Grace's blog page where she discusses Dorothy Canfield Fisher's Understood Betsy (it's #7 on the list)Haywood's New York TImes obituary from January 12, 1990, whicherroneously says that "B" is for Betsy was Haywood's first book The Free Library of Philadelphia blog post about Haywood's relationship with artist Violet Oakley and the group of women artists in Philadelphia who were known as the Red Rose GirlsThe Free Library of Philadelphia blog post "Carolyn Haywood: All Sugar, No Spice" The Free Library of Philadelphia blog post about an unpublished novel about a boy whose father is in jail for selling heroin that was found in Haywood's papers is here. Deborah and Mary Grace recommend Beverly Cleary's Ramona books for fans of "B" is for Betsy.Rereading Your Childhood is is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other podcast platforms. You can find Deborah’s author interviews on her blog, Books Q&A by Deborah Kalb, and you can find Mary Grace’s adventures in the 1920s on her blog, My Life 100 Years Ago.#children's books Podcast website at rereadingourchildhood.com
Rereading Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
Jul 27 2023
Rereading Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
Deborah and Mary Grace discuss Ballet Shoes, Noel Streatfeild's classic 1936 story of a trio of adopted sisters, Pauline, Petrova, and Posy, who attend a school for professional children in the performing arts in London. Ballet Shoes is the first in what became a series of "Shoes" books about children working in the theater, the circus, etc. Mentioned on this episode: Plays that the girls perform in:The Blue Bird, by Maurice Maeterlinck (a large chunk of which, weirdly, appears in the text of Ballet Shoes)A Midsummer Night's Dream, by William ShakespeareOther Noel Streatfeild books:Circus Shoes (1938). As Deborah mentions, several of Streatfeild's books were retitled to capitalize on the popularity of Ballet Shoes. This book was originally titled The Circus is Coming. Skating Shoes (1951). This is the American title; it was published in the UK as White Boots. The Whicharts (1931). Streatfeild's first novel, which is for adults, also features three adopted sisters. (According to an episode on Ballet Shoes on the wonderful Backlisted podcast, the books have identical openings.) Recommended by Mary Grace for fans of Ballet Shoes: We Danced in Bloomsbury Square by Jean Estoril (out of print, available from used booksellers). Recommended by Deborah for fans of Ballet Shoes: other books in the Shoes series. Shoes books available in the United States include Theater Shoes and Dancing Shoes.The podcast is hosted by Buzzsprout at rereadingourchildhood.buzzsprout.com and is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other podcast platforms. You can listen to it on Buzzsprout here. You can find Debby’s author interviews on her blog, Books Q&A by Deborah Kalb, and Mary Grace’s adventures in the 1920s on her blog, My Life 100 Years Ago.This episode was edited by Adam Linder of Bespoken Podcasting.#children's booksPodcast website at rereadingourchildhood.com
Rereading Henry Reed, Inc. by Keith Robertson
Jun 15 2023
Rereading Henry Reed, Inc. by Keith Robertson
Mary Grace and Deborah discuss Henry Reed, Inc., Keith Robertson's 1958 novel about a boy who starts a research business while spending the summer with his aunt and uncle in a small town near Princeton, New Jersey. This is the first in a five-book series about the adventures of Henry and his friend Midge. Other books in the series:Henry Reed's Journey (1963)Henry Reed's Baby-Sitting Service (1966)Henry Reed's Big Show (1970)Henry Reed's Think Tank (1986) As Mary Grace mentions, Robertson's first novel, Ticktock and Jim, is available as a free e-book at Project Gutenberg. You can read Robertson's New York Times obituary here. You can read Robertson's daughter Christina's tribute to his honorary daughter Mariko Sasaki Sendai here.Books by Henry Reed, Inc. illustrator Robert McCloskey:Homer Price (1943)Centerburg Tales (1951) (the Homer Price sequel that Deborah mentions)Make Way for Ducklings (1941) Also recommended for fans of Henry Reed:Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective (1963) and the rest of the series, plus Robert McCloskey's Homer Price books, mentioned above. The podcast is hosted by Buzzsprout at rereadingourchildhood.buzzsprout.com and is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other podcast platforms. You can find Debby’s author interviews on her blog, Books Q&A by Deborah Kalb, and Mary Grace’s adventures in the 1920s on her blog, My Life 100 Years Ago.This episode was edited by Adam Linder of Bespoken Podcasting.#children's booksPodcast website at rereadingourchildhood.com
Rereading Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
May 18 2023
Rereading Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
On the first episode, Mary Grace and Deborah revisit Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, Judy Blume's 1970 classic of adolescence.Mentioned on the podcast:Other books by Judy Blume:Then Again, Maybe I Won’t, the boy equivalent of Are You There, God? It’s Me, MargaretTales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, the first two books in the popular Fudge seriesIt’s Not the End of the World, the story of a girl whose parents are divorcingForever, the much-banned book about a teenage sexual relationshipAn April 2023 PEN America report that includes Blume’s novel Forever… on a list of books that have recently been removed from school libraries in the United States.A New York Times article about the Judy Blume book-to-screen moment currently underway. (Clarification: It’s from the business section.)Blume demonstrating the famous “I must, I must, I must increase my bust” exercise on a TV program.Recommended for fans of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret:Freaky Friday by Mary RodgersThe Long Secret by Louise FitzhughThe podcast is hosted by Buzzsprout at rereadingourchildhood.buzzsprout.com and is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other platforms.You can find Deborah’s author interviews on her blog, Books Q&A by Deborah Kalb and Mary Grace’s adventures in the 1920s on her blog, My Life 100 Years Ago.)This episode was edited by Adam Linder of Bespoken Podcasting.#children's booksPodcast website at rereadingourchildhood.com