I have many fond memories of the books that raised me. Mom reading to my brother and I. Classrooms full of books to read and borrow. Our local library, a frequent haunt of mine, which won awards.
I still see myself sitting on my favorite part of the couch, feet propped on the coffee table, reading for hours and hours. My parents used to tell me to go outside, get some fresh air, and so I'd drag my book with me, setting up camp on a swing or the random inner tube we had. It's not that I didn't like playing and running outside- I did. But it was hard to remove myself from a story once begun.
There are so many books that I've forgotten about. Many contenders from Battle of the Books, like The Witch of Blackbird Pond, that I know I loved but can't remember why or what the plot was about. Books enjoyed at the time that now make me cringe or reflect my reading tastes back then. These listed below still endure. I may or may not have reread them in recent years. A well-loved book might be better than comfort food at times.
Chances are you will tell me about your favorite childhood books and I will smack myself on the forehead. Of course! How could I forget? That is what I have appreciated about this book series, not just sharing the books near and dear to my heart but hearing about the ones you've loved best. Adding to my To Read list but also remembering the ones I'd forgotten. Thank you for that.
Favorite Childhood Books:
Black Beauty- Anna Sewell I went through a horse book phase. I couldn't read enough books about horses but this one always stood out against the rest. It's funny that I loved these books because I never had a desire to go riding myself. Apparently I just liked reading about other people that did.
Bridge To Terabithia- Katherine Peterson Secret imaginary kingdom plus boy and girl friendship and then a horrible twist. Did anyone read this and not cry?
The Face on the Milk Carton- Caroline B. Cooney Remember those milk cartons with the pictures of missing children? Yep, there's the inspiration. A girl discovers the people she thought were her parents actually kidnapped her and she has a "real" family. Bonus points if you remember that Kellie Martin starred in the TV movie. Cooney's books were great, though I tended to stay away from her "scary" titles. The Girl Who Invented Romance was another fave, simply because the name "Leigh" is mentioned.
Frog and Toad are Friends- Arnold Lobel I mean, it's just so sweet and endearing!
The Giving Tree- Shel Silverstein The tree who loved her boy. It totally could have been creepy, yet it wasn't. Where the Sidewalk Ends was always good for a laugh.
Hinds Feet on High Places-Hannah Hurnard Mom read this allegory of the Christian life to my brother and me, as well as its sequel. Better than Pilgrim's Progress from my recollection of the two.
James and the Giant Peach- Roald Dahl I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Dahl. Such interesting stories he spun for us. James the orphan who befriends insects living inside a giant peach. It's a strange premise yet it works perfectly. The BFG was another favorite.
Little Women- Louisa May Alcott I always thought of myself as a combination of the strongminded Jo and artistic Amy. I can still remember taking it off the shelf in my 4th grade classroom, unaware of the four sisters its pages held yet ready to dive into their world.
Little House on the Prairie- Laura Ingalls Wilder My friend Ruth and I used to play LHOTP in her backyard. We were all about the pioneer life! I first read this in 2nd grade and loved not just the story, but also knowing it was based on a true story.
Nancy Drew and the Secret of the Old Clock-Carolyn Keene I should have mentioned Nancy in my series list but she's so solidly connected to my childhood that it seemed more appropriate here. There was something about the plucky teen sleuth that was relatable. I envied her convertible and boyfriend Ned. Wherever Nancy's books went, I inevitably followed. I can still picture where the books were kept in the library and the time I found an original copy at a resale shop. Those Case Files were the best but it all started with the Secret of the Old Clock.
Old Yeller- Fred Gipson I can barely think of this without crying. Saddest dog story ever.
Ramona Quimby, age 8- Beverly Cleary Ramona's adventures were enjoyable tales. Who couldn't relate?
Seventeen Against the Dealer- Cynthia Voigt The final book about the Tillerman family was my favorite. Dicey's struggle to make her way ends up leading her away from her loved ones. The lessons she learns are lessons we must all learn.
Summer of My German Soldier - Bette Greene Maybe this is where my interest in World War II began? A young Jewish girl strikes up a friendship with with a Nazi POW leading to repercussions for herself and her town.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit- Beatrix Potter Oh that Peter Rabbit! The illustrations bring the story to life. The movie based on Beatrix's life is worth watching just to see how she found inspiration.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn- Betty Smith My all time favorite book when I was in middle school, this coming of age tale of a girl observing her family and trying to make her way in spite of her surroundings still resonates with me today.
The Westing Game- Ellen Raskin Such a great mystery! I never saw the ending coming. Did you?
Winnie the Pooh- A. A. Milne Silly, willy, nilly old bear. Winnie the Pooh and company still hold my attention. Lovely stories, lovely lessons on what friendship really means.
A Wrinkle in Time- Madeline L'Engle Love, love, love this story of the Murray children's adventure! I read the continuing stories but there's just something about this one that I cling to. Maybe remembering the awe I felt for the world the Murrays encountered, the grave responsibility they held, and my all-consuming wish to be more like Meg. Oh, and did you know I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. L'Engle herself?
Stay tuned for more reasons why Leigh Likes Books:
- Favorite Fiction (General Market)
- Favorite Christian Fiction
- Favorite Nonfiction (General Market)
- Favorite Christian Nonfiction
- Going to the Classics
- Best Book Series
- Childhood Faves (today)
- Books I Used to Like that Now Make Me Cringe (6/1)
Agree? Disagree? What are your favorite childhood books?
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