Every week the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish host an event called “Top 10 Tuesday“. Every week there is a theme, having to do with books, and they invite bloggers to post a Top 10 list. I participate whenever the theme makes the bookworm in me feel all giddy and this week’s theme has me very excited. The theme is, what books from your childhood, including teenage years, would you like to go back and revisit?
I admit I read more as a child/teenager/young adult/ than I do now, although I am working to change that. There are so many books the have shaped the person I have become that a top 10 list just won’t do them justice, but I will do my best.
Where the Sidewalk Ends and The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
I remember picking these up from the school library when I was in elementary school and I was hooked right away. I didn’t like every poem, I didn’t even understand every poem but I knew some of them were trying to say something very profound. They made me think and the drawings were nice to look at too. There are more books from Silverstein with more poems and kooky drawing but these two were the first ones I picked up. I hadn’t read anything like them and still haven’t.
The Giver by Lois Lowry
My God was this book good! If I had to say which book influenced me the most in my early teens I would say it was this. This book was the reason I fell in love with the dystopian genre. It was asking questions that no other book I had read had and it was doing it in a way that I could feel the pain and fear and wonder the characters in the book were feeling. Beautifully written!
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
This was the second most influential book of my early teens. I identified with Meg’s feelings of not being smart enough or brave enough and I liked that she had a little brother she was close with, just like I did. She went on to save the world and I hoped one day I could do the same. I liked this book so much I recently bought a shirt that had the old cover design on it.
Goosebumps Series by R.L. Stine
Every single book report I did in fourth and fifth grade was done on a Goosebumps book. I’ve read so many of them and while not all of them were very good they definitely got my into the horror genre. There’s a reason R.L. Stine is refered to as “the Stephen King of children’s literature”.
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
This book made me love all the animals. I wanted to run away and join PETA’s army.
Matilda by Roald Dahl
This book….I so badly wanted to be Matilda. My home life wasn’t so great and I hated the arrogance of adults. I was smart and independent and I wanted nothing more than for someone to really see me and my potential. Matilda made me feel like I wasn’t alone and that one day I could find a way out of my circumstances. Matilda also taught me that sometimes arrogant people need to be brought down a notch.
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
I think most of us have read this book, right? We read it as a class together everyday, the teacher making us all take turns reading paragraphs out loud, ugh. Because we read it in a group I felt I couldn’t really get into it. My since my anxiety levels were through the roof waiting for my turn to read, hoping I didn’t mispronounce something. I do remember that it was a good book though and I knew it was an important book.
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Another Roald Dahl book, this one was so much fun. Once again I found myself identifying with a character because their home life wasn’t so great. James had it pretty bad but his friends helped him out in the end. I have always wondered whether James really made it to New York or if he just lost his mind and went bat shit crazy?
The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
I don’t remember this one much but I do remember thinking it was a very interesting plot. I also thought it would be very cool to have your toys come to life and talk to you. Looking back now though I wonder if it might have been a little racist?
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
This book is my very favorite children’s book ever. The illustrations were amazing and as simple as the book is you really do feel drawn in. Even as an adult I will pull this out and read through it every once in awhile. I like to escape into the simplicity of Max’s mind and imagination. I love that the monsters he created loved him and wanted him to stay, and I love that dinner was waiting for him we he returned home.
And there you have it, not only are these ten of my favorite books as a child, these are also books I recommend to friends of mine who have kids. I stress to them that the books their kids read now will stick with them into adulthood. The will remember them and think back to the way these stories and lessons made them feel. They will remember the characters like old friends and will want to revisit them time and time again the way I have with the books above.