Throw Back Thursday: Cherry Ames

I’m kind of a sucker for throw back Thursday. I love looking at old photos, funny memories, sweet moments. In deciding my Thursday theme, I thought this would be a good chance to look back at some older books. Some will be classics. Some, like today’s, will be decidedly not classics. Some will just evoke some nostalgia and early reading memories. And none will have been published fewer than 30 years ago.

I had a mental list of classic books that I’d love to write about, but for whatever reason, this book series popped into my head as I made a very frigid walk home from school drop-off: Cherry Ames.


I have to say that I had completely forgotten about these books until I stumbled across a box of them in the basement. My mom had handed these down to me as she and her sisters had read them as kids.

The first of the books, written by Helen Wells, was published in 1942. The premise was that young Cherry Ames leaves her quiet town to become a student nurse at wartime. Because of the need for nurses, she and her classmates end up working in the hospital early, learning on the job, under the direction of a crotchety nursing supervisor. And, as in all Cherry Ames books, there is a mystery she has to solve. Wells wrote 18 of the books. Julie Campbell Tatham, originator of another childhood favorite, the Trixie Belden mysteries, wrote the other nine.

I loved these books as a kid. She was so ambitious and faced challenges and, like my other favorite Nancy Drew, got to solve mysteries.

The list of books in the series makes me laugh now. This lady sure held a lot of jobs. She was a flight nurse, a visiting nurse, a department store nurse, a cruise nurse, and even a mountaineering nurse. There were 27 books in all. The smallest details stick in my head, including one from Boarding School Nurse (#17) that included having to discover a formula for a perfume. The funny part is that this story came to mind many, many times as I learned about aroma profiles in my work in the tea world.

The covers are beautifully dated — you have to particularly like that Night Supervisor cover.

I may just have to dust off one of these beauties to see how they read this many years later.



Published by Katrina Ávila Munichiello

KAM is a freelance writer, editor, and lifelong lover of books. She was the kind of kid who woke up before sunrise to read before school and her passion for books has never waned. After nearly a decade of work in public health and the non-profit sector, she became a stay-at home mom. The twelve years since have allowed her discover a new life’s ambition — writing. She published her first book “A Tea Reader: Living Life One Cup at a Time,” a collection of essays written by tea lovers around the world, in 2011, and has had articles and essays featured in outlets including Yankee Magazine and Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. She served as Senior Editor of Tea Magazine. She currently writes picture books and middle grade books and is loving every minute of making them better. She is a member of NESCBWI, Vice President of Friends of the J.V. Fletcher Library and advisor of an elementary school Newspaper Club.

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