I am not very good at making those “top 5” or “top 10” lists and I’m even worse at choosing my absolute favorites – the items that trump all other enjoyable items within a certain category. However, I do – in retrospect – have favorites of things for different time periods throughout my life. Here are my favorite childhood reads:
As a really wee one, I loved the Berenstain Bears books. In fact, I loved them so much that even mentioning them to my parents still elicits exaggerated groans and tales of nightmares. At the time, you see, I was not yet reading myself. So every night when my parents offered to read me something before bed, I plagued them with the Berenstain Bear family. I don’t remember the stories intriguing me so much, except for the one about Sister Bear’s first day of school, as the illustrations. I loved the illustrations! Every once in a while, I’d even pull out my favorites to look at them, despite not being able to read them.
Alice Through the Looking Glass was another one of my favorites during this time and is the first book I remember my parents trying to get me to read myself. Once again, the illustrations played a crucial role in my interest… but the story was equally intriguing.
Then came Goosebumps. I think my mother would kiss R.L. Stine for writing books I actually had an interest in reading. This was the first time in my life I could actually read something, then discuss it with a friend at school. I had a fairly decent collection of them at one point! I remember doing some extra credit so I could get the newest book, The Barking Ghost, free from the old Scholastic school book order forms. The cover of that one sticks in my head even now.
Just before I hit middle school age, one of my babysitters introduced me to the Star Wars movies. She figured it was a good way to keep me quiet for a few hours – I’d found a life long obsession. The next favorites of my childhood were the Young Jedi Knights books. I have no idea if they were actually any good, but I loved them at the time.
In 8th grade, I found S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders and it was a game changer. We were given a month to read it, I think, and I read it two or three times within that time frame. My friends were not nearly as enthusiastic about it, but for some reason it had me; hook, line, and sinker. I think it may also have been the first time I’d scoffed that the book was better than the movie. (Though, I did still enjoy the movie.)
That’s the last book I’d really consider a “childhood favorite”, though. Beyond that, the books I read or the age I read them at became more advanced than the term ‘childhood’ would merit. Each one of these listed holds a special place in my heart, though. I hadn’t thought about them in a while.
What were your favorites growing up?