What’s the best book you’ve ever received as a gift?
When I was 8 years old, I received the book “Miss Happiness and Miss Flower.” It came at a good time in my life. The book is about a girl who received two Japanese dolls. In the book, when she was asked by a gruff bookstore owner, Young lady, can you read? She thinks, That’s one thing I can do well. That line really resonated with me because I felt the same way.
That is Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden in the New York Times feature, “By the Book.” My sister and I also absolutely adored Rumer Godden’s Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, most likely because, like the protagonist, we were often displaced — in our cases, living a year here, a year there, in various parts of Germany and the US. As a result, we connected strongly to Nona’s own feelings when moving to England after a childhood in India. Additionally, we were intense dollhouse players and collectors and makers of tiny things. So the book spoke to us in a myriad of ways and I’m thrilled to see that it was a favorite of Carla’s too.
I loved the book so much I got my own doll and made things for her. I believe I followed instructions in the book, but my sister has our copy so can’t check. Can you believe, I still have them?