This post is part of the Top Ten Tuesday meme by The Broke and the Bookish.
Writing this week’s TTT post brought back a lot of great memories! I was a complete and total bookworm when I was a kid–I started reading at four years old, and I never looked back. This list is, by necessity, abbreviated… Maybe soon I’ll write a post about the books I read as a teenager that I want to revisit.
1. Pictures of Hollis Woods. This Newbery book, about a girl in foster care who wonders if she’s blown her only chance at having a true family, is one of my all-time favorites. Now, as an adult who is looking into adoption, I think it would have even more of an impact.
2. The Nancy Drew series. As a kid, my aunt owned her a used bookstore, and she sent me and my siblings boxes of books with faded hardcovers and that old book smell. Among these books was the complete Nancy Drew series with its yellow covers and blond, attractive Nancy holding a flashlight or magnifying glass on each cover. Some of them terrified me, but they continued my love affair with mysteries (and with Nancy Drew herself). Which brings me to…
3. The Bobbsey Twins series. Oh, how I loved these books as a child! I had already started devouring these books (which consist of several series springing from the original 1930s books) when my aforementioned aunt kindly sent me dozens more. There was something about the two sets of twins solving mysteries in exotic locations that never got old.
4. The Encyclopedia Brown series. Again with the mysteries! The allure of these books was that they consisted of short stories that you could attempt to solve yourself. Unfortunately, these books didn’t age well–the minute facts that Encyclopedia Brown uses to solve his cases became much more obvious as I got older.
5. The Mandie series. Yet another mystery series, this one focuses on turn-of-the-century Mandie and her family as she goes to boarding school, travels the world, argues with her grandmother, and solves mysteries with her friends. Looking back, the series is kind of insensitive toward American Indians, but I loved them growing up, so I think they’re worth another look.
6. Walk Two Moons. I’ve talked about my love for Sharon Creech before, and she never ceases to satisfy. This Newbery book was my introduction to Sharon Creech, and it remains my favorite. It’s silly and sad and unexpected. Unfortunately, I only own two Creech books, and this is not one of them! I need to rectify that soon.
7. Hope Was Here. I loved this Newbery book like whoa as a preteen… And a teenager… And now, really. It’s one of the few books I’ve re-read multiple times, and it doesn’t get old. Hope is a strong girl, used to uprooting her life, but when she and her aunt end up in small-town Wisconsin, Hope finds herself in the middle of something bigger–and she might even find a family. Plus, there’s tons of talk about food and waitressing. Joan Bauer never skimps on the details of her characters’ interests, no matter what they might be, and I love that.
8. Holes. I was introduced to this Newbery book shortly before the movie came out (a movie which singlehandedly rendered me incapable of hating Shia LeBeouf). I was mesmerized by how Louis Sacher wove together the different pieces of the storyline, and I wonder if it would still hold up today.
9. Ella Enchanted. Yet another Newbery book that captured my imagination. So much better than the movie.
10. A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder. These two books are hilarious and heartwarming. They introduce you to larger-than-life Grandma and her two city grandchildren, who go along with the ride, no matter where it takes them.
Honorable mentions go to The Time Garden, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and The Twenty-One Balloons. As I look through this list, I’m amazed to see that several of them made my list of the top ten books I want my daughter to read. One of my favorite things about books is their power to let us see glimpses into others’ lives, and I’m so grateful that my childhood was filled with glimpses of strong, smart, go-getter girls and women.
Which books would you add to your list of childhood favorites?