An interview with Norene Parish, owner of a collection of classic children’s books

Last updated: January 19. 2014 2:33PM - 930 Views
By - ckelly@civitasmedia.com

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1. How long have you been collecting these books?

My son, Scott, is 47 now, and my daughter, Heather, is 40, so I've saved these books over all those years. I started when they were little and stopped when they got into grade school. Most of these were just bought off the shelves. As they grew, I got older and older books for them. Some of these books are almost 50 years old now.

2. How many children's books would you say you have now?

I would say I probably have about 80 books, maybe more. This collection is probably from toddler age through grade school. I even have three books in Spanish. I didn't even realize I had them.

3. Do you ever display your collection for others?

They were on display this summer at the Lima Public Library. I mentioned to Karen Sommer there that I had all these wonderful books that my children had from toddler age on up, and she said, 'How many do you have?' And when I told her I didn't know, she said I should bring them up. She then made a wonderful display out at the library. I belong to Friends of the Library, and several people made mention that they saw the collection.

4. What condition are the books in today?

Some of them are kind of beat up, the ones that were read a lot more. But a lot of them are in pretty good shape, like the collection of Golden Books that first sold for 49 cents. I really can't part with these books. The Dr. Seuss books I have were given to Scott by my father when he was born. They're a little beat up, but they're still here.

5. Do you have any books in the collection that are rare and valuable today?

There's a “Jack in the Beanstalk” book that was originally 15 cents that now is worth $4. I was also told that the old Golden Books can sometimes be pretty valuable, too, but I've never looked it up.

6. Were your children surprised that you still have these books from when they were children.

Yes. I just got these books back out a few months ago, and my kids asked me, 'Mom, did you keep those books?' They couldn't believe I still had them. They couldn't believe I had them. I just couldn't part with them. I've even saved a couple of my grandchildren's books.

7. Do you ever pull out some of these books and read them yourself, for old times' sake?

I do pull out a couple. I've got a couple of “Amelia Bedelia” books here that my daughter always enjoyed reading.

8. What are your future plans for your book collection?

I think, more than likely, I'll pass them down to the kids. Sometimes, when you talk about passing something down to the kids, that stuff may not mean as much to them as it did to you, but I think these books would. You can pass up on other material things, but these books would be special. Scott mentioned to me one day, 'Don't get rid of those books!'

9. Out of all the children's books in your collection, do you have a favorite?

It's always “The Night Before Christmas,” that we read with the kids. I also have a leather-bound edition of “The Night Before Christmas” that I got for my daughter. That was always her favorite book as she grew older. Hallmark had that book when she was a senior in high school, and I bought it for her and had her name engraved on it and everything. So she's got that and uses it every year.

10. Why is it important for you to keep this collection of classic children's literature?

Books have always been very special to me. My mother always had a collection of books, and I thought if I could keep these for my children, I'm going to keep them. To look at a book for a child today, where would you ever find “Jack and the Beanstalk” or “A Walk with Grandpa?” I remember how we'd always sit and I'd read to the kids from when they were very small. My daughter is the same way with her little guys. Even when they were wriggling around, she'd still sit down and read to them.

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