Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My Favorite Childhood Books

This week's Weekly Geeks challenge is a perfect fit for this blog. Dewey is asking everyone to talk about their favorite childhood books. As I've said before, I can't even remember a time when I wasn't reading. I read and still read all kinds of books, so narrowing down to a favorite is pretty difficult. However, there a few books and series that really stand out in my memory as ones that I adored.

The Poky Little Puppy

In my baby book, my mother wrote that this was my favorite book when I was a baby. She told me that I memorized the words and "read" it to myself when I was two. I should probably get a copy of this book for my daughter and see if she likes it as much as I did.

Moby Illustrated Classics
The first books that I remember having a huge influence on me were these tiny illustrated classics that were adapted for children. My Aunt Marian gave me a boxed set of 12 classic books when I was around eight years old, and I literally read them until the pages fell out. I remember being so proud to own my very own set of books. I can't seem to find a picture of them now, but they were about 6 inches long and square. My favorites included Black Beauty, Treasure Island, Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles, and the Prince and the Pauper. The way they were written was very approachable and digestible for children, and it helped me develop an appreciation for classic literature.

The Ramona Books by Beverly Cleary

Around the same time, my fourth grade teacher, Mr. Childress, who was also an avid reader introduced me to Beverly Cleary's Ramona books. I loved Ramona's antics and identified with Beezus because I also had a pesky little sister (and brother!) I read all of the books in the set over and over again.

The Fudge Books by Judy Blume

On a similar note, I also loved Judy Blume's Fudge series, beginning with Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. Fudge cracked me up, and I used to read excerpts to my sister and brother. My own little brother got into lots of mischief just like Fudge, so I completely identified with poor Peter.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

When I was nine or ten, my Grandma Daisy gave me the Anne of Green Gables boxed set. I LOVED these books so very much and read them over and over and over again. These timeless books are still very popular with girls today. Anne is the type of heroine that girls seem to identify with even though the books were written 100 years ago.

The Trixie Belden Series by Julie Campbell

Around that same time, a close family friend gave me a box full of Trixie Belden books she read when she was a child. I fell in love with the characters and always tried to solve the mysteries in the book. I still have these books today and plan on sharing them with my daughter when she gets older.

Flowers In The Attic by V.C. Andrews

When I was little older, I found Flowers in the Attic on my Grandma Daisy's bookshelf. Once I picked it up, I was drawn into the sick and twisted lives of the Dollganger family. I call the period of time between the ages of 12 and 16 "the dark years," because I got totally hooked on all of V.C. Andrews' haunting books along with those of Stephen King and Dean Koontz. I do have to warn you that these books are meant for older readers. I was always a bit mature for my age and got a kick out of the dark and twisted plots.

So, you see, I definitely read a variety of books, some that I wouldn't deem to be great works of literature. However, I always appreciated the fact that my mother always let me choose what I wanted to read and enabled me to discover books on my own. I felt a sense of freedom and great responsibility whenever I went to the library and was always excited about what I was going to read next.

What were some of YOUR favorite childhood books?


  1. I loved Ramona and Fudge books too and I read Anne of Green Gables so many times! I had lots of favorites, but I chose to write about just one memory with a book.

  2. I remember reading Flowers in the Attic and thinking how creepy it was - they even made a movie about it (which, if I remember correctlty, was pretty good too)!

  3. We read the same books--Blume, Cleary and Flowers in the Attic! I was just laughing this morning about when Fudgie (was that his name) ate Peter's turtle. Good memories.

  4. I was big into Enid Blyton to the exclusion of anything else! Actually in India, British Authored books were very popular. Still are. So easy for us to get hold of those. Only for the past few years American publishers have come into it in a big way!

    Childhood Memories

  5. Oh my goodness--Flowers in the Attic! That was a truly disturbing book that I read over and over again. That one certainly made the rounds at my school! I think I stopped reading around 3rd in the series, though. Vivid memories!

  6. I read Flowers in the Attic when I was in fifth grade, and I remember putting it down about 3/4 of the way through and thinking, "I should not be reading this book."

    Which was uncharacteristic for me, since I was usually the kid in the corner of the library reading all the dirty parts in the Judy Blume books.

    What was up with all that incest?

  7. So glad I haven't written up my post yet because reading everybody's favorites has reminded me of so many books I enjoyed1 Love, love, love The Poky Little Puppy! I have two copies that I just cherish. And I vividly remember hiding Flowers in the Attic because I didn't want my mom to know I was reading it!

  8. Rebecca,
    I absolutely love your story, and it's a true testament to the power that teachers hold.

    I remember that movie, and it WAS good but not as good as the book. Although, I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to movie adaptations of books.

    I COMPLETELY forgot about Fudgie eating the turtle. I'm going to have to use my daughter as an excuse to re-read those books.

    I admit that I've never read Enid Blyton's works, but they're on my list. I also didn't read a lot of British children's literature when I was young, aside from the classics. I definitely should get more versed in that.

    Smallworld reads,
    Most of the books after the first three really weren't that different--they just had different characters and settings, but the plots were very similar. After VC Andrews died, and the ghostwriters took over, I lost interest. They really weren't as good.

    I definitely don't know what was up with all of the incest, but it was a common theme in many of her series. It was certainly sick and bizarre.

    I think that's wonderful that you have two copies of the Poky Little Puppy. I have no idea what happened to mine, but I'm definitely ordering a copy for my daughter. Also, I didn't have to hide Flowers in the Attic from my mom. I don't think she knew exactly what they were about, and by that point, she really let me choose my own stuff anyhow. However, I do remember hiding trashy romance novels my friends and I read in high school. I knew that she would KNOW I was reading "distasteful" stuff by just looking at the cover.

  9. Ha ha, I remember Flowers in the Attic. It got passed around at summer camp. I remember reading it with a flashlight inside my sleeping bag.

  10. Julie,
    That's so funny about summer camp. I'm also amazed at everyone's story about passing around this "forbidden" book. Books like that definitely have an appeal--probably because they are not the types of books parents really want their kids to be reading.

  11. The Poky Little Puppy was my oldest daughter's favorite when she was in preschool. Now she's about to graduate 8th grade...

  12. Woo, I love Ramona, Fudge and Anne, too!! And Flowers in the Attic. I've been meaning to read it again, actually, see if it's still as creepy all these years later. I also wondered if the movie was any good...

  13. Kylee,
    I'm definitely going to have to get the Poky Little Puppy for my daughter. And congrats to your daughter for graduating 8th grade!

    Since I posted about Flowers in the Attic last week, I've been wanting to read it again to find out the same thing. I have a feeling it might be even creepier!