Category Archives: 1970s

375B: Impoverished Girl Knits Sweater

In fourth grade, in 1970, our teacher read us a chapter book about a girl in a concentration or refugee camp or impoverished village.   I remember descriptions of the harsh conditions and an episode where she knit a sweater for a woman in exchange for a cow. The sweater didn’t fit because the woman gained weight from drinking the milk and the girl had to redo the sweater.
Would love to know this book!

374X: Ben’s Mom on a Business Trip

I am looking for a library book from my childhood. The book is from the 1970s or very early 1980s, and focuses on a little boy named Ben. In the story, Ben’s mom goes on a business trip, leaving Ben and dad at home for a few days. They get off to a rough start with dad being late to pick up Ben from school and some other minor mishaps, but things improve before mom gets home. The entire book is illustrated with black and white photographs of what could be a real family – mom, dad, and son Ben. There are no drawn illustrations, just photographs. I believe there were also one or two more “Ben” books- maybe it was a small series- but the one I remember most centers on Ben’s experience while mom is on work travel.

354T: War Orphan Adopted by GI

I’m looking for a book I read as a boy in the mid 1970s . It probably was written in the 1950s or 1960s.  My memory says it was titled the journey home or long journey home but having searched for that for years with no luck I’m prepared to believe my memory is incorrect.  It was about a war orphan making his away to America to be adopted or having been adopted by a GI.

374K: Hell is hilarious

Fiction, American, published late 70s or early 80s, set in Boston, about an alcoholic violinist and his inept love life. Very funny book. Many hilarious descriptions of Boston’s weather, generally framing it as the output of God’s ass. Anyone know the book or author I am talking about?

374I: Vintage children’s book about two raccoon brothers

The book was published sometime in the 1960s to 1970s. It had full-color illustrations and multiple stories presented like chapters about two raccoon brothers. The book was probably written for children between 4-7 years of age, or early readers. The only two chapters I remember were about not chewing with your mouth open and having a hard time falling asleep. In the first story, the older brother is annoyed by his younger brother chewing with his mouth open, making a noisy mess. The younger raccoon tries to chew with his mouth closed but has a hard time, even going so far as to tearfully pull his cheeks out so he doesn’t bite them. Eventually, the older brother relents and the younger brother happily resumes his messy, noisy eating. In the second story, the younger raccoon is struggling to fall asleep in his top bunk. The older brother, in the bed below, advises his brother to say goodnight to his body, part by part, starting with his toes. But by the time the young raccoon gets to his (knees, hips, stomach? can’t remember), his toes have “woken up” and he is sad. I don’t remember much more about this book other than I loved it very much as a young child in the 80s, and it was a gift from my beloved grandmother.

374H: Cat Lives Happily Ever After, and Other Stories

When I was around 5 or 6 years old (1972 to 1973) I loved a book of short children’s stories. I think it contained around a dozen or so stories. I recall a bunch of characters on the front cover. I think one of the characters was a knight, and he may or may not have been sitting on a horse.

One of the stories (I think the first one) was about a lost cat or kitten. The cat is lonely, cold, and hungry. The cat wandered around and found a pond with a fish in it. The cat tries to grab the fish, but is pulled into the water. (I think there may have been a fishing pole there, and the cat got tangled in it.) When the owner of the house heard the ruckus outside, he went out to retrieve the fish and cat. The cat then lives happily thereafter with the new owner, and the owner cooks the fish for the cat. There is a drawing of the cat sitting in front of the fire.

Another story was about some people who went for a short boat ride in a rowboat. To make sure everyone person was accounted for, the organizer of the voyage had everyone wear hat. Her plan was to count the number of hats before the journey, and then count them afterwards. If the numbers matched, then everyone was accounted for. The voyage had some problems. The boat started to sink because someone forgot to install the drain plug. But it wasn’t dangerous because the lake was very shallow. At any rate, at the end of the voyage the organizer was worried & upset because the number of hats she counted afterwards was one less than the onset of the voyage. But someone pointed out that she forgot to count the hat on her head, and everyone laughed.

374E: Puritan Fog Friend

I read in grade school (early 70s), but I can’t remember the name of it.
Little girl had just moved to house on outskirts of small town New England coast of US. She likes to play in fog. One day meets another little girl. She speaks oddly, old-fashioned. Is dressed old too. But they have good time berry picking. Go to strange girl’s house. Also very old fashioned, more like a cabin. But girl thinks kinda cool. 
The odd girl’s mom fixes a couple of berry pies. Wraps one up for her to take to her mom. When she gets home, fog is lifting and pie is gone. The two girls meet often, always in fog. They become fast friends. 
Finally mom wants to meet this family. Daughter takes her to spot she KNOWS the village is standing. Nothing there. Just bright sunshine on the empty field. Few blocks away is a replica of a Puritan village but isn’t the same. She keeps saying things were in the wrong place. Never saw little girl again, foggy or not. 

Wish I could remember the name but was in like 4th maybe 5th grade at the most.”

374A: Groundhog Day (Solved!)

I’m looking for a kid’s book likely from the 70’s to early 80’s about a groundhog whose friends didn’t want him to see his shadow so they brought him food when he woke up to keep him in his bed. They emptied all the surrounding gardens but he was still hungry. He wanted to leave his den to get more food but they tried to keep him in. When he asked them why he couldn’t leave they told him they did not want him to see his shadow. After this he informs them that ground hog day was yesterday and he’d slept through it. I have looked for this book for years, even when I was a school librarian for a little while and haven’t been able to locate it. My mom doesn’t remember the name of it but does remember that we had it.Thank you for any help you can give for this.

373Z: Southwestern Gothic Romance Tragedy

I am looking for a book written before 1978.  The storyline is that a man from the Northeast travels to the Southwest because he has a lung ailment.  He is of modest means when he arrives at his new home but over time becomes wealthy and successful.  He becomes the owner of a Hacienda, not just of a large house but basically the owner of a large cattle ranching operation.  He marries a beautiful Hispanic woman who is much younger than he is.  She later betrays him with a young American cowboy.  The workers on the Hacienda learn what has happened and they let the hero know that they will kill the Cowboy if that is what he wants.  The hero of the story decides that he loves both his friend and his young wife (whom he feels guilty for marrying) and decides to spare the lovers.  However, the shame of the situation means that he must abandon his home and much of the great wealth he has accumulated. 

When the man first arrived in town he had almost nothing.  When he leaves, even though he is abandoning great wealth, he is riding a very expensive horse on a saddle with silver buckles, silver spurs, etc.  He is armed and has money in his saddlebags.  The idea is that despite all he is losing he is much better off than when he arrived.  The only relatively precise quote that I can remember from the book is: “Ten years is only an long time at the beginning or very end of a man’s life.”

This book may have been a Readers Digest Condensed book.  It may also have been written by a Mexican author and translated or an American author with ties to the Southwest and the Hispanic community.  The cultural norms play a large role in the book.

I read this book between 1972 and 1978.