Following my daughters recent homework on ‘The Reading River’, I have been searching high and low for my favourite childhood books. This one in particular was lost and seemingly gone forever, having been through 3 or 4 house moves.

A couple of weeks ago, my father was clearing out some one of the loft storage areas in the family home and found a box of (mostly) my sisters books. He warned me that they would be going to charity in the next 24 hours and I should claim anything I wanted to keep. In amongst my older sisters giant Spanish dictionary, her Penguin classics and John Grisham collection was this!

What Katy Did was written in 1872 by Susan Chauncey Woolsey (Coolidge was her pen name). The central character, Katy was an active tomboy with an impetuous nature. The story begins when she’s around twelve-years old and charts her journey through her teenage years and into early adulthood. I saw a lot of myself in Katy and she became something of a role model for me as I was growing up. 

What Katy Did is such a special book for me. It was a gift on my 8th birthday, from my school friend, Caty (now living in NZ). I spent many summers reading and re-reading the trilogy, throughout junior school, and well into secondary school. I loved reading all the stories and adventures that Katy and her sisters went through, the bad times and the good. The hardships and struggles inspired me to be more patient and always strive to be a better person. It really was one of the books that shaped my childhood and my teenage years.

What Katy Did is a book that I’m passing on to my 7 year old daughter, with love and a bit of trepidation. My biggest fear is that she will find it too old fashioned in this post-millennial world. I hope that it appeals to her pensive side, the part of her that loves the simple things. We shall see.