My first Tuesday Top Ten is a fail. It's Wednesday! In my defense, it was crazy busy at the Library yesterday. I'll do better next time. Promise.
The sassy, smart ladies at The Broke and the Bookish post a weekly feature of bookish lists which I find informative and entertaining to read. A list nerd myself, I wanted to join in the fun. My lists will focus, for the most part, on YA literature since that's pretty much all I read these days. And it's not just because of the job either. It's more of a preference. Have you READ a YA book recently? We've come so far since the Sweet Valley days of the 1980s.
I'm starting at their starting point: childhood favorites. Obviously, these won't be YA books, although I did start reading those at a younger age than is probably normal. No, these will be the books that I checked out a million times from the elementary school library, or had my own well-worn copy lovingly stored on the bedroom bookshelf.
I'd love to hear some of your favorites too.
1. Are you there God, it's me Margaret by Judy Blume: Any girl who wants to know more about what it's like to get her period should read this book. Sure, it's a bit dated (belts? yikes!) but pre-pubescent fears and curiosity are timeless. And who doesn't love Judy Blume?
2. From the mixed-up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg: Run away and live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art? Use coins from the fountain to buy food and the fountain itself to wash up? Uncover a fascinating mystery about an angel statue that's begging to be solved? Sign me up!
3. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis: One of the greatest series for children, and adults as well. Mrs. McVey, my fifth grade teacher, spent the entire year reading these 7 books aloud to the class. I begged my mother for a box set of them, and I have those books to this day. I have problems with the new(ish) "chronological order" in which they're published, but that's a topic for another post. My favorites in the series? The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
4. On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder: And all the other Little House books for that matter. This one was my favorite though. Laura Ingalls was a great childhood friend. She would travel through time and accompany me on my outdoor adventures, and I would show her the marvels of modern day. But somehow we both preferred the rustic simplicity of her day.
5. Nancy Drew mystery stories by Carolyn Keene: Another childhood friend, Nancy Drew was the smartest girl I knew. There was no clue too subtle, no puzzle so unsolvable that Nancy couldn't save the day. Mom would force me to go outside and get some fresh air and sunshine, and a Nancy Drew book often would come with me. We'd go hunting for clues hidden in gnarled old trees or buried under rock gardens and behind storage sheds. Good times.
6. The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White: White's other books, Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little, are much beloved by children--myself included, but it was The Trumpet of the Swan that resonated most with me. A brave young swan overcomes his inability to make a sound, saves the life of a human camper and falls in love with a beautiful young swan named Serena. It was a lovely story, and I cherished it.
7. Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary: Ms. Cleary has written a large number of children's books and created a host of lovable characters including Ramona Quimby, Ralph S. Mouse and Ellen Tebbits. The one I loved the best was Henry Huggins, the first in a series of books concerning Henry's amusing adventures on Klickitat Street with his trusty dog Ribsy and friend Beezus. I desperately wanted to live in a neighborhood as realistically idyllic as Henry's.
8. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein: I'll bet that most people who grew up in the U.S. during the last 30 years can recite at least a bit of a Shel Silverstein poem. Silly rhymes, silly illustrations and outlandish situations were Silverstein's calling cards, delighting hordes of young children. Say it with me now: I cannot go to school today said Little Peggy Ann McKay...
9. Charlie Brown's 'Cyclopedia by Funk & Wagnalls Inc.: Mom bought these for my sisters and I when we were very young. We pored over them again and again for years. More fun and accessible than the World Book, the subtitle of this set was "Super Questions and Answers and Amazing Facts." What kid doesn't love super questions and answers and amazing facts?
10. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl: One of the many instances in my life where I've seen the film before reading the book; no matter. The book was brilliant, and fun, and a little bit scary. But chocolate and imagination can cure most ills, of that I'm quite convinced. Dahl's dark sense of humor may not be for every child, but I felt right at home with Willy Wonka and his fabulous factory.
There are SO MANY more books I wish I could have included, but alas, it's only a top ten. What do you think? Did you love some of these books too?