The Weekly Reader book club expanded my horizons.
The Weekly Reader was a newspaper for kids that was part of the regular elementary school curriculum in the 1950s. The book club was optional. A new book, suitable for the age group, would come at regular intervals, and we never knew what it would be.
Some of them were funny fantasy. One series was about a boy who, if I remember correctly, was named TV Humphrey. Others were the predictable animal or do-gooding kids stories.
But one I that stuck with me was, again, if memory serves, “The Silver Dagger,” about a World War I refugee boy, about the same age as I was. His parents were dead, killed in the bombing, and he and a few other kids were roaming around Europe, displaced persons, trying to find a home.
It had never occurred to me that such things could happen, especially to kids. I was so safe in my little Porterville hometown. I found out there was a wide and wicked world out there. That book led, inevitably, to “The Diary of Anne Frank.”