What Katy Did

June 25, 2011

Categories: Susan M Coolidge, What Katy Did

‘As for your algebra,’ she said, ‘if it is that very dirty book
with one one cover and scribbled all over the leaves,
you will find it under the kitchen table.’
(What Katy Did, Susan M. Coolidge)

I suspect Katy may have had some influence on my own maths aspirations as I was growing up. The Katy Series, by Susan M. Coolidge, was a favourite of mine that I read and reread and pondered and sighed over. I understood that the book was old (much in the same way that my teacher at school, Miss Nunn, was old at aged 22) but it was only years later that I found out the first book in the series, What Katy Did, was published in 1872. The books are sitting on my bookshelf now (after a rescue from the garage when I was blessed to get a whole room for writing a couple of years ago) and I am too wary to look back over the pages through the eyes of an adult.

Susan M. Coolidge was the pen name of Sarah Chauncey Woolsey. She was an author of children’s books in the 1800s — a time when there were few books written specifically for children. She worked as a nurse during the American Civil War and it was after this that her writing career began.

I have read thousands of books over the years, but I would consider the favourites from my childhood to have had the most impact on my life. That’s why I consider writing for children such an honour.

2 Responses to “What Katy Did”

  1. Jenny P says:

    Thank you for this reminder of those wonderful books. Anne of Green Gables, Little Women and What Katy, did bring back memories of escaping to other times and worlds.
    Perhaps I'll have to scrounge some copies for a quick reread to venture back in time again.

  2. Alison Arnold says:

    Gilbert…sigh. Recently I re-read Enid blyton's Malory towers books. Did you ever read those? To my shock I found myself strangely in sympathy with the villain gwendolyn Mary lacy.

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