Created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme for those who love lists and want to get to know their fellow bloggers. Each week features a new theme, and anyone may participate. This week’s theme is…
Top Ten Favorite Books from My Childhood
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My parents gave me a hardcover copy of this book when I was maybe five-years-old, which started my dad reading the entire series to me aloud, chapter by chapter, book by book, until one day, when I was six, I got impatient, and finished These Happy Golden Years while he was at work. I remember this clearly because it was the first chapter book I ever read on my own.
Meet Molly by Valerie Tripp. Sure, I read the other American Girl Doll books, but Molly’s were always my favorites. I can’t speak for the newer books, but those that accompanied the Molly and the other original dolls are incredibly well-written, especially when you consider that they were essentially accessories, and I have no doubt they laid the foundation for my ongoing love of U.S. history.
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. Even though I can no longer recall every specific of its plot, I continue to love this book. I went through a brief city planner phase as a result of Harriet’s habit of playing Town with Sport. And I can’t be the only one to have read this book and immediately start my own spy notebook, right? That’s what I thought.
Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry. Before I was old enough to appreciate just how good The Giver is, I loved Lowry’s Anastasia Krupnik books. I remember copying her idea of listing likes and dislikes in her journal (sadly, I do not remember what I included in said lists!), and for some reason, I think she is one of the more precocious heroines from my childhood favorites (which is saying something).
Martin the Warrior by Brian Jacques. I wish I could remember how I discovered the Redwall books, because I think they are the very first large scale fantasy I ever loved. I think I’ve read at least the first ten books, but I know that Martin the Warrior has always been my favorite. I’ve always had a thing for prequel stories, and Jacques is possibly the first author I read who was willing to kill a likable character, thus introducing me to bookish sadness.
Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede. All those in favor of Cimorene, say aye! She’s a wonderful protagonist, and this is a wonderful book. I read my local library’s copies of it and the rest of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles over and over again, and in many ways, Wrede paved the way for my longstanding love affair tongue-in-cheek genre parodies and high(er) fantasy featuring kick ass female protagonists.
Matilda by Roald Dahl. Frankly, everything Roald Dahl has ever written (exception: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, etc.) belongs on this list, but out of all his books, Matilda is my all-time favorite. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Matilda Wormwood is every bookish child’s soulmate. She reads voraciously, in defiance of a family too stupid to keep up with her, and she’s smart to the point of psychic abilities.
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi. One of my all-time favorite works of historical fiction, and with a swashbuckling heroine, to boot! I read and reread this book, in particular around the time that my homeschool group participated in a living history sleepover on a tall ship in the San Francisco Bay. (Getting to do things like that is just one of the many reasons that I loved being homeschooled.)
Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce. This wasn’t the first Tamora Pierce book I ever read. That honor belongs to Wild Magic. All the same, it wouldn’t be right for anyone other than Alanna to represent Tamora Pierce on this list. Having recently (re)read all 17 Tortall books, I know they stand the test of time, and at the end of the day, I can’t wait to share these books with a daughter of my own. I just hope she loves them as much as I do.
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. I put this list together with a rough chronology in mind, beginning with the books my parents read aloud to me, and ending here, with the book that had the most impact on me as I transitioned from child to young adult. Ironically, I had little interest in reading it when my dad first bought me a copy. I had other new books that I was more interested in, that I read first. I don’t remember what they were, and anyway, it was my first copy of The Golden Compass that lost its cover from love and endless readings. To this day, it and its sequels are some of the best and most important books that I have ever read.
What about you? What are your favorite books from childhood, and why?