The Winged Watchman by Hilda van Stockum (1962)
When I was a child our family hardly ever bought books. We were great readers—we didn't own a television set until I was seven years old—but books were too expensive to buy when the public library was free. If our tiny village library in Scotia, New York did not have what we needed, an expedition to the Schenectady city library was usually sufficient. (There was no Inter Library Loan at the time.) Imagine the glory when we moved to the Philadelphia area and I discovered that their incredible Free Library was only a train ride away.
Printed books were also (relatively) more expensive then, as this was before the explosion of available paperback books and well before the view of books as disposable items. Nonetheless, one of the great things my parents did for me was to sign me up for the Weekly Reader Children's Book Club, which periodically delivered a brand-new hardcover children's book to our door. I still have many of the books, and am surprised at the consistent, excellent quality (considering how many bad children's books are now available), even looking back from the perspective of over half a century.
One of those books was The Winged Watchman, a story of Holland during World War II. I had passed my copy on to our grandchildren, but it was recently returned because they had acquired another copy through their homeschooling curriculum. Naturally, I couldn't resist re-reading one of my childhood favorites.
The Winged Watchman is still a favorite. It's a glimpse of another culture in very difficult time, historically accurate without being depressing or overly graphic, and fits well my definition of a good book. (A good book inspires me to be a better person.)