I’ve been thinking a lot about books I read as a child recently. Before I had a blog to document my feelings and opinions on books, I just had my memory (and of course the occasional elementary school book report). I’ve began to wonder how many books I have actually read in my life, and decided that it is impossible to count. I simply can’t remember every single one I have read. So I’ve decided instead of trying to remember every single one, I’ll share a few books (or series) that I remember having a big impact on me, or that I enjoyed very much. I’m not putting these in any particular order, just however they pop into my head.
1. The Magic of Spider Woman by Lois Duncan, Shonto Begay (illustrator)
Despite my crippling fear of spiders, this book never failed to enchant me. It tells a Native American tale about a woman who learns the secret of weaving from spider woman. However, this secret comes with a warming. When the main character ignores the warning, she gets trapped within one of her own creations. I remember reading this book over and over. The story was so interesting and the pictures were stunning. Of all the children’s books I read, this is the one that sticks out most in my memory.
2. Junie B. Jones (series) by Barbra Park
Of course there weren’t quite as many Junie B. Jones books when I was in elementary school ( I think there are 28 now?) but I always loved Junie B.’s adventures and thought everything that happened was absolutely hilarious (which it probably still is). We had a box of the books and home and a bunch floating around our classroom at school, so I never had to worry about finding one to read, even if I had already read them all a million times already (of course that’s an exaggeration…. unless it isn’t?).
3. The Magic Treehouse (series) by Mary Pope Osbourne
Much like the Junie B. books, I read this series over and over again (and also there weren’t quite so many out when I did). I travelled in time with these books, and there was a new world to discover every time I did. It also didn’t hurt that there was a bit of mythology and magic thrown in (which began to show up more in the later books). After finishing a book I would go find my older brother (who is even more of a book worm than I am) and pretend that I was Annie and he was Jack, and go on adventures of our own. That is until we found another book to read!
4. Little House in the Big Woods (series) by Laura Ingalls Wilder
These books were probably my favorite stories. I loved Laura and wanted nothing more in life than to be her. Her life to me was something of a fairy tale, and it sounded so fun and adventurous. I loved reading about her moving across the country in the wagon and all the obstacles they ran into. I loved reading about how Pa built the houses they lived in as they moved west. And I loved reading about how she grew up and made friends and became a teacher and fell in love. And now all I want to do is read them again.
I could probably make this list a hundred thousand books long, but I think I am going to stop at four. When I look back and think “What books made me fall in love with reading?”, it is these books. I do have some honorable mentions; books that I loved but that I don’t feel exactly belong on the list.
The Cam Jenson books– These books were another great series, but I didn’t enjoy them quite as much as some of the other series.
Captain Underpants books– hilarious (and I loved the flip-o-ramas) but I got tired of them after a while
Encyclopedia Brown books– fun, but I think I only had one or two, so I didn’t really get into them as much as the other series
Harry Potter books– Okay, so don’t hate me for putting these down here. I did love them, but I didn’t start reading them until I was a little older, so I don’t really consider them “childhood books” even though they are technically for children
Ballet Shoes– I remember reading this book over and over and over in my third grade classroom, but as much as I loved it I don’t remember it as well as the books on my list, so I don’t think it quite belongs.
There were of course a lot of books that I liked, and if you want me to think up some more I would be more than happy to. But how about you? What books did you love as a child? What books shaped your childhood? I’d love to hear what they were!!