One of my earliest memories at a library was hearing When I Was Young in the Mountains, written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Diane Goode, read during preschool storytime. The story itself did not make enough of an impression on me at the time that I remembered it well, but the picture on the cover of the brother and sister with their brown dog looking over a mountain scene is something I have not forgotten over 25 years later. In reading this book to my children I realized there were probably several reasons why I did not retain the content of this story, but feel that this can be different for my kids. First, the children in this book live with their grandparents and have a very close relationship with them which is something with which I could not relate to at that young age. Second, several topics, such as coal mining, the use of an out-house, and being baptized in a muddy pond, required more detailed explanations to young children than would be practical for a larger group of children. Finally, the thought of having a dead snake slung around the necks of 4 children for a picture is repulsing to me even to this day. In short, I still squeal at the sight of even the smallest snake. I hope that I was able to overcome some of these obstacles with my children so that they will be have more detailed memories of this book and may want to share it with their own children years from now.
Pros: A great conversation starter about life in other cultures and times in the United States. A sweet look at family love.
Cons: If you have a fear of snakes, take a deep breath about the middle of the book.
Age Range: 4-9