Thursday, September 29

Favorite Books From My Childhood

Warning: nostalgic content ahead. Yep, it's one of those posts where I reminisce and celebrate my own fond memories.

Okay, really, it's not going to be sappy or anything. It's just a list of some of the books that were my favorite favorite growing up. You see, sometimes, when you stumble upon a collection of your old books at your parent's house, you can't help but be nostalgic, right? Right. Yeah, I've got you thinking about your own childhood favorites, huh?

Here's mine...

Green Eggs and Ham
Dr. Seuss (1960)

This. Not only a great story about endurance and a practice in excellent rhyming, but this was the exact book that I learned to read aloud all by myself the whole way through. My dad was particularly fond of Dr. Seuss and spent many a night reading them to me before bed. Guess what? My mom still has the copy I first read. It's still going strong!
Frog and Toad All Year
Arnold Lobel (1976)

What is it about Frog and Toad that I find so endearing? Their friendship is endearing, their adventures classic... This is another one that I learned to read early on. I loved it when Frog tore all the months off of the calendar and was, like, "Yay! Let's go Toad!" Perhaps this old love explains some of my love now for Elephant and Piggie?
Mirette on the High Wire
Emily Arnold McCully (1992)

So I first picked up this book because it had my name on the cover (tell me I'm not the only one that's done that). The illustrations, though, are what kept me glued. I guess it did win the Caldecott for a reason, but as a young girl, that's not what mattered. What mattered was the story of another young girl accomplishing her dreams. Oh, fondness...!
The Polar Express
Chris Van Allsburg (1985)

Christmas. Classic. Hands Down. I know, I know, there are a lot of Christmas classics, but I LOVE this one because—oh look! Another Caldecott. Yep, those illustrations had me poring over the pages again and again. Van Allsburg has been and will always be a favorite illustrator of mine.

Merry Christmas Amelia Bedelia
Written by Peggy Parish, illustrated by Lynn Sweat (1986)

I'm on a Christmas kick now! I love that holiday and I love Amelia Bedelia. I don't even know why, because reading them now, it sure is frustrating when she does everything the wrong way! I must have really appreciated her literal take on everything as a child. In this one, I particularly enjoyed when she literally trimmed the tree because I never understood as a child why "trimming the tree" meant decorating it...

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Barbara Robinson (1971)

Okay, one more Christmas book. My family read this one together often—almost every year. First of all, the Herdmans. Second of all, Christmas. That means you've got something hilarious, sweet, and wonderful all in one. Also, the best line: "Hey! Unto you a child is born!"
Nate the Great
Written by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, illustratrated by Marc Simont (1972)

My brother's name is Nate. And he seems to think he's pretty great. And so I read this book. Turns out this detective-who-loves-pancakes really got me into mysteries. He's just about my most favorite character in all of literature—so stoic, yet so lovable.

Sideways Stories from Wayside School
Louis Sachar (1978)

Okay, this one was a family favorite. Seriously, the whole family. Every road trip, we'd check out the auidobook from the library and listen to it. And laugh, because (let's be honest) this book is hilarious. Weird, it's true, but hilarious. The number of inside jokes my brother uses from this book is criminal.
Where the Sidewalk Ends
Shel Silverstein (1974)

Everyone loves Shel! This one may not be as much as a surprise because I believe Silverstein was able to capture the imagination and humor of kids everywhere. His poems were upbeat, well illustrated (which is to say, hilarious), and inspirational—I myself took a crack at poetry, thanks to this genius book.

The Hobbit
J. R. R. Tolkien (1937)

Here's sentimentality for you: this book will always make me think of my dad, who read this to me as a bedtime story, just like he did for all of his kids. He has the perfect reading timbre, you see, with wonderful voices for Gandalf and Gollum and all of them. I hope I can read it to my kids with as much style and finesse!
The Real Tooth Fairy
Written by Marilyn Kaye, illustrated by Helen Cogancherry (1994)

So here's one that's out of print and you've probably never heard of, but hey, we're just talking about my favorites here. This one is probably the reason I believed in the tooth fairy for so long, no joke. It just made so much sense in my little kid brain--of course the tooth fairy disguises herself to look like your parent! Yep, this one was well read.
Brian Jacques (1986)

Let's talk about where my love of epic fantasy came from. After my dad finished The Hobbit, I delved out into the world of high adventure with this awesome series. It did not disappoint. Few heroes can compare with Matthias the mouse!

I can't help but think I'm missing a ton. Partly because I fear my parents have given away a lot of my old books, which is just about the most heartbreaking thing ever. So share away, what are some of your favorite childhood books? Any that are long out of print? Unrecognized? Or do you have favorites that have long been established as classics, too? Perhaps I'll remember more of my own favorites through your recommendations.