I was planning on skipping this topic. But after seeing so many posts of books that weren’t released until I was old enough to be on the other side of the counter selling them, I realized how different mine would be. So here you go.
1. The Chronicles of Narnia | C.S. Lewis
I read early and well, but Chronicles of Narnia was the series that made me realize it was fun. I discovered Narnia around 2nd grade and it has had a resonance with me ever since. With it’s heavy Christian overtones, it got past the mom censor and introduced me to fantasy (which I had trouble getting approved up until 5th grade when they gave up and let me read whatever I wanted). I still get in passionate arguments about what should be read as book one (Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, NOT Magician’s Nephew). Through high school, I kept my emergency running away fund hidden inside The Last Battle. I still reread Narnia every few years, and there’s a part of me that half expects to find magic hidden beyond an ordinary door someday. I searched for the door to Narnia the way many of you waited for your Hogwarts letter.
2. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler | E.L. Konigsburg
Oh how I longed to run away and live somewhere else. Hiding somewhere as cool as the Museum of Art would be a dream. At the same time the realities of needing money to get to where you were going and a plan to make it work made it a little more real, and made the reality a little less enticing.
3. Encyclopedia Brown | Donald J. Sobol
Nancy Drew cared to much about her boyfriend, and the Hardy Boys weren’t really relatable, but Encyclopedia Brown I could get. Again, I think this had a lot to do with too young for my reading level. Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys had teen lives and problems, and I couldn’t relate. Encyclopedia Brown stripped away the rest and just left me with a puzzle to solve.
4. Anne of Green Gables | L.M. Montgomery
Feisty, creative girl finds a loving adoptive home with an elderly couple. I loved Anne so much, and she’s one of the few characters I can remember wanting to be like.
5. Half Magic | Edward Eager
Classic be careful what you wish for story, with a half-talking cat that says meow every other word.
6. Knights of the Round Table
I can’t figure out what version it was from Goodreads, but I had a collection of King Arthur & his knights stories that I read over and over.
7. Over Sea, Under Stone | Susan Cooper
Strong fantasy, but like Golden Compass I remember feeling let down by later books in the series.
8. Bunnicula | James Howe
Still kind of fantasy + funny + animals + my first exposure to horror. Plus, I had issues with eating vegetables and I remember being on board as soon as I heard the title Celery Stalks at Midnight because of course they were evil. I reread this last year for Halloween, and it’s still fantastic.
9. A Dog Called Kitty | Bill Wallace
I reread this book every year, and it made me cry every time. So sad.
I read a lot of animal books when I was a kid. The fantasy books have stuck with me more, but I remember reading tons of animal books. Stray cat stories, vet clinics, Hank the Cowdog, Mouse and the Motorcycle, Where the Red Fern Grows, Old Yeller, Black Stallion, and all of Marguerite Henry.
10. Where the Sidewalk Ends | Shel Silverstein
I still have this poem memorized and have to resist the urge to recite it every time I call out sick from work.
Where’s the YA?
I didn’t read teen books as a teenager. When I got there reading level wise, I was too young to care about any of the boys and high school drama stuff, so I skipped over them to adult books. Fourth grade was mostly fantasy like Anne McCaffrey. Fifth and sixth grade added horror, with Dean Koontz (my favorite) and Stephen King. In seventh grade, Ray Bradbury came and talked at our library, and introduced me to the world of science fiction. Eighth added Tony Hillerman and Lilian Jackson Braun, ninth I skipped, and the rest of High school was mostly AP titles and golden age scifi.
Yes, I adore HP, but I never experienced it as a child. My first dramatic memory of it is working the midnight release party for GoF, and I didn’t cave in and read it until OotP. I’m obsessed, but my reaction to it is very different from those who grew up with it. My focus is on the survivors of the first war and piecing together what happened then. It’s the adults (especially Severus) and the strand of connection between wars that formed my emotional connection to the world of Harry Potter, not the kids.
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.
Also, I used the cover versions I remember from childhood. Since I don’t have a cover for #6, I added in my favorite Narnia book, Voyage of the Dawn Treader.