Do you ever find yourself wanting your kids to know the same heroes that you do? I think back to the really special friends of my youth, and I so want Jemimah to be special friends with them too. Like Annette and Lucien and Danny. Remember them? Their very names take me back instantly to my grandmother's place, to early mornings milking cows, to carefree days building maze-like cubbies of corrugated iron sheeting, and wonderful times climbing trees and riding Freckles and Prince the ponies. Just thinking of those names takes me right back to the farm.
My cousin was staying with me last week. Despite the fact that he's 17 years older than me, he says that Patricia St John's Treasures of the Snow is the book that reminds him most about our Grandmother as well. Except for the Bible, of course.
Mary Jones was another of these friends of my childhood. I was surprised that Cousin Dee couldn't remember her as well, but he couldn't. I narrated her story in my best CM style, and although he thought it sounded sort of familiar he didn't feel any bonds of affection at all.
Jemimah and Mary are good friends now though. Jemimah finished reading Mary's story yesterday, and she hasn't stopped talking about her amazing tenacity since.
The story of how young Welsh Mary Jones saved for six long years for enough money for a Bible and then when she was 16 walked 25 miles to the home of Thomas Charles to purchase one is really quite inspirational when you're nine.
Jemimah read Mary Jones and Her Bible, Mary Carter's 1949 revision of Emily Ropes' original 1892 book because that was the version that was dear to me from my childhood. In fact, she read the very same copy! If I were going to recommend a version to you, Emily Ropes' original, The Story of Mary Jones and Her Bible is the better book. It is back in print and is available from Amazon here. You can read it online, or upload it to your Kindle for free here.
And for those of you who haven't yet met my very special childhood friend, Mary, here is her story for young children. It is worth watching, even if just to listen to the narrator's beautifully lyrical Welsh accent.
I hope you love her too.