Books and authors that made my childhood

Do you what is the coolest thing now that Mr. A is reading? Getting to go back and introduce him to some of my favorite books from childhood. Talk about nostalgia.

I love to read. I have since I first learned what those beautiful words were on the crisp smelling, bound pieces of paper at school. I loved the library. I devoured books, anything I could get my hands on that told a story. I don’t have a single recollection of not liking a book until I got to middle and high school and those were few and far between (The Stranger. Heart of Darkness. UGGGG!)

A few weeks ago, we spent a Saturday going through boxes in my mom’s garage. We found a big one that had tons of old books in them. I was in heaven. We brought it home and I went through all the ones that I thought were appropriate for Mr A. (Some will have to wait for Miss E.) Two days ago I found him upstairs reading O’Diddy, a tale of an imaginary friend who fears being forgotten. He finished it in two afternoons. As he shared the story with me, I had immediate flashbacks to reading it as a child.

It got me thinking, going down memory lane, visiting the books that made a mark on me. There were plenty in that box that didn’t impact me per se, but I thoroughly enjoyed. (Did anyone read the Satin Slippers series in grade school?) But some were like seeing old friends and I’m eager to reread them, to catch up and become reacquainted.

books and authors

1. Ramona Quimby, Age 8
Beverly Cleary was to me what Barbara Park is to my son. I loved Ramona the way Mr. A loves Junie B. Jones. a was She was my first literary friend. These are great books to not only let your 1st-2nd grader read alone, but also to read out loud as a family.

2. Trixie Beldon series
Oh how I loved these books. For whatever reason, I couldn’t ever quite get into Nancy Drew (though I did read several of them) but Trixie? She was awesome. I loved following along her adventures with her best friend, Honey Wheeler. Trixie is perfect for 2nd – 4th grade girls, but I’m going to see what Mr. A thinks too! Start with The Secret of the Mansion.

3. Amy Moves In, Marilyn Sachs
This was the first in a three book series about sisters, Amy and Laura and their on-again/off-again rivalry and the struggles they faced growing up during the depression. I hope to find the other two books on Amazon so that Miss E. can read these in a few years. If my recollection is right, these would be good for 2nd-4th grade as well.

4. The Babysitter’s Club
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I read these books. I’m pretty sure for a solid year there was a Babysitter’s Club book on our kitchen table. My mom was constantly asking me to put them away. All my friends read them and we were always itching for the next one to come out. Kristy, Claudia, Mary Ann and Stacy were friends, family. I cared about them. Now they’ve gone and redone the first few of them as graphic novels and I AM NOT OKAY WITH THIS. Perfect for 2nd – 5th grade.

5. Judy Blume
I can’t say enough about Judy Blume. She had such a huge presence in my formative years, from Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing to Forever. Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret? is a book my mom won’t ever forget. I read it a smidge earlier (3rd grade?) than was probably recommended and I surprised her with lots of questions about menstruation. I can’t even talk about Tiger Eyes. I don’t know if it’s because the main character’s dad had died or what, but this book spoke to me. Even as an adult, I enjoy Judy’s writing. Summer Sisters and In the Unlikely Event are both must-reads.

6. R.L. Stine & Christopher Pike
I went through a huge horror book phase in middle school that started with these two authors and eventually led me to Dean Koontz and Stephen King in high school. I’m thinking these are right on target for 7th and 8th grade, but I have no concept if kids today would enjoy them the way I did.

7. Sweet Valley High 
In retrospect these books were pretty horrible. But they read like a soap opera, so for a young, angsty pre-teen in the throws of puberty, it was probably perfection. I think I read them somewhere between 5th and 7th grade.

8 V.C. Andrews
I’m not sure there’s a woman out there who was a teen in the 90’s that didn’t read Flowers in the Attic. It felt forbidden, sneaky and I gobbled up every word of it and all the books that followed. As a parent today, I am a little aghast at the range of mature content covered, but I started reading them somewhere around 7th grade, so the topics weren’t unfamiliar.

What books defined your childhood? I’m constantly being reminded of old favorites and I’d love to know what yours are.

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  1. says

    I can’t get over how much my reading tastes have changed since then. I was obsessed with SVH and VC Andrews, and then I took a huge turn for tragedy books.

    I laugh at The Heart of Darkness reference. WHY did we need to read books such as those?!

  2. says

    So many of these were my favorites! I still remember the first book I ever read and enjoyed! It was Prom Night by R.L. Stine. It changed my life!

  3. says

    I remember reading Sweet Valley Twins all the way through the University series (and I stopped early on.) I loved that series – though, definitely thinking back on the books, they were really bad. And the Babysitters Club! I LOVED those books! I used to have a collection of the books, and I’m wondering if they were donated or if maybe my mom still has them…

  4. says

    Beverly Cleary was the best, and I couldn’t have been happier when my daughter opted to have a Ramona party when she turned 8. The Little House on the Prairie series was also a big one for me, and I think I read every single Babysitters Club. So fun to see your old books – so glad your mom kept them!

  5. says

    I think I was equally obsessed with the Babysitters club! My best friend and I could not get enough. I also really really loved The BFG. Again, my best friend and I read them together. I recently introduced it to my goddaughter and she loved it too. Can’t wait for the movie to come out.

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