The Golden Name Day – Vintage Kidlit Summer Week #11
My friend Faith Elizabeth Hough (who blogs HERE) and I decided to create a fun reading challenge called Vintage Kidlit Summer. If you missed any of the details on how this challenge works, just go here and you can catch up! Basically, we’re doing 12 categories over 12 weeks, and each week has its own theme. All you have to do is choose a vintage/classic book that fits that week’s theme, read it, and share about it! You can write about it on your blog, or you can post your thoughts on Instagram (or Twitter) as well, by using the hashtag #vintagekidlitsummer. And if you’re in need of recommendations for each week’s theme, check out this blog post!
I can’t believe we’ve reached our last week of the challenge, though! There obviously is still time to catch up (for example, you can do this challenge on your own whenever you like!) and then enjoy the archive of blog posts afterward.
Our eleventh week’s theme was Little-Known Newbery, and for this theme I re-read The Golden Name Day by Jennie D. Lindquist. What a wonderful novel! It won a Newbery Honor in 1956, and actually was out of print for some time. I believe that Purple House Press recently brought it back into print, though! My copy is an ex-library edition.
Here’s what I wrote about this book on Instagram a while ago:
This is such a darling book! Set at the turn of the 20th century, it follows the adventures of a little girl named Nancy, who goes to live with a big Swedish family when her mother is ill. It’s one of the few children’s books I’ve read that explores Swedish culture/traditions (which I love because I’m of Swedish descent). I recently read the sequel, THE LITTLE SILVER HOUSE, which was also a lovely book.
My name day is December 9!
I’ve been reading the lovely Cobble Street Cousins chapter books by Cynthia Rylant lately, and I was struck by how the style of those books reminds me of The Golden Name Day. The elegant yet down-to-earth prose, the sweet adventures of a group of girls, the flowers and the parties … I love the similarities!
Much of the book revolves around Nancy’s wish to have her own Name Day celebration, but she can’t have one because the name Nancy doesn’t appear in the Swedish almanac. Eventually Grandma Benson has to remind Nancy to think about other people’s problems instead of focusing so much on her own small dilemma. By doing this, Nancy discovers new friends and learns an important lesson.
The thing I love most about this book–even more than the gentle humor, the Swedish culture, and the happy ending–is that this is one of the few stories that (for me) truly captures what it feels like to be a child, in such a vivid way. For example, there is a scene where Nancy is reading a mysterious fairy-tale on the staircase, and when the sun shines through the stained-glass window above the stairs, it reflects a rainbow onto the pages of her book, creating an enchanting moment that she remembers forever. (And tries to recreate over and over again.) This small vignette feels so extraordinarily real to me.
What did you read for the Vintage Kidlit Summer this week? Let me know in the comments!