Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

All Aboard! Trains, Trees, Traditions and...Books

My family moved from Memphis to the little town of Grand Junction, Tennessee, when I was in fourth grade. (The town, founded in 1858, was named after the "Grand Junction" of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, which ran through the area.)

To the residents - my family included - it was a kind of comfort to hear the distant train whistle throughout the day.  And even though we moved away from that small town when I was in high school, trains have remained a family favorite.

My past blog posts have included Rev. W. Awdry's original Thomas the Tank Engine book series, as well as a post about the book "Silver Packages", a book about a real Santa Train in Appalachia.  And what child doesn't love the "I - think - I - can" lesson from Watty Piper's The Little Engine That Could.

I was soooo excited when my husband dug out our little battery operated train from the garage.  It had been many years since we'd set it up under our tree. My grandson is delighted with the "coo-coo"!!!  (Confession #1: our Christmas tree is still up because, confession #2: we broke with tradition and got - gasp - an artificial tree this year!)

The train-under-the-tree-tradition (and the train itself, complete with bell and whistle) was handed down to us from my parents.  I can't hear the whistle without remembering how excited my dad would get every time he'd run the train around their tree for my kiddos.

So of course, a few days ago when my daughter and I realized that there was a model train exhibit near our home, we packed up my grandson and his little conductor hat, and went to see it.  Lots of train loving kids and adults were there (many of the adults were without kids - trains after all, are for the young at heart!)

I hope you liked touring the exhibit with us.  Please pass on any train book recommendations you might have.  What are some of your family traditions during the holidays?


  1. Happy New Year to you and yours. As Paul Simon used to sing, "everybody loves the sound of a train in the distance" it is strangely comforting. I think my favourite book about trains has to be Thomas the Tank engine.

  2. How wonderful this photo tour is. My favorite train book is The Polar Express by VanAllsburg.