Beloved children's books are like good friends - guaranteed to make you feel better

The other night I was stressed and not feeling well - and I couldn't seem to shake the blues. As I sat on the couch, wondering how I could make myself feel better, I realized the answer was right in  front of me.

I was, in fact, surrounded by old friends. Hesitating only a minute, I walked over to my bookshelves and began searching for a few favorites, some that I haven't touched in years.

There was "Misty of Chincoteague," one of several selections by Marguerite Henry collected during my horse-loving phase, and "Little Women" and "A Garland for Girls," both by Louisa May Alcott, purchased when I fell in love with Alcott's gentle stories sprinkled with altruism and romance.

I couldn't resist leafing through my battered copy of  "Understood Betsy," the story of a sickly city girl who finds a new life in the country, and I read Rumer Godden's "The Story of Holly and Ivy," all the way through before I knew it. I found my stash of Laura Ingalls Wilder books and remembered how I used to read them in my room while pretending my bed was my own covered wagon.

The time flew by. My bad mood vanished. But that's what good friends will do for you.

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