Top Ten Tuesday: Books that were Childhood Favorites

The only question is: when did childhood end? I'm nearly thirty-four, and I still like kids' books.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Do come join the fun...

For the sake of the question, though, I'll stick with the ones I loved as a child, starting no later than junior high. It's very hard to limit this to ten.

1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I still pretty well have half of it memorized.

2. Heidi by Johanna Spyri. One of the most sympathetic young characters I've ever known.

3. The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My sister Beth and I read one set of these entirely to pieces, and worked hard on a second.

4. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. Someone got me a set of these when I was seven, before we moved from one end of the country to the other. I read nearly the entire series on the six-day drive.

5. The Anne books by L.M. Montgomery. Anne Shirley is probably partially responsible for how much I daydream.

6. The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Sara Crewe was my hero. Of course, I loved The Secret Garden, too.

7. The Time books by Madeleine L'Engle. The first three, anyway; I've still not read Many Waters.

8. Patricia M. St. John's books. Particularly Star of Light, The Secret at Pheasant Cottage, Treasures in the Snow, Three Go Searching... I may be forgetting some titles, too.

9. 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith. Warm and vivid and well-developed. I loved this book.

10. The Pippi Longstocking books by Astrid Lindgren. She had a horse, which might have made the story for me even if she hadn't been utterly hilarious and lovable.

Beverly Cleary's Ramona books, Wilson Rawls' Where the Red Fern Grows and Summer of the Monkeys, George MacDonald's Wee Sir Gibbie and Alec Forbes, the Bobbsey Twins, the Saddle Club, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm... see, I knew I'd never be able to keep it to ten.

What were your favorite books when you were a kid?


  1. I can't believe I forgot to include Pippi Longstocking on my list! I went through a phase where I slept with my feet on my pillow and my head at the foot of the bed because I loved Pippi so much. Heidi was another of my favorites too!

  2. Jenna, I think we may have been separated at birth! My list is nearly identical. I'd only add Trixie Belden mysteries (as I was a tomboy and preferred Trixie to Nancy Drew) and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh.

  3. Heidi was amazing, at one point I begged my parents to rename me Klara and my little sister Heidi...

  4. The funny thing is your list is full of the books I loved... and the books I couldn't stand as a child... (Heidi I believe is the only library book I ever returned without finishing - though my mother had picked it out for me, so that may have had something to do with it, while A Wrinkle in Time I was given as a present as a 3rd grader and I never read further than about 15 pages in - I much preferred my other present that year - A Little Princess!)

    But it is quite amusing how vastly different my "books I loved as a child" list is from "Childrens books I love as an adult" - I just COULD NOT stand fantasy or sci fi as a child - I rarely read anything contemporary for that matter - if it wasn't historical (either written to be historical, or old itself) I didn't like it - thus my love of Little House, Little Women (and Little Men), A Little Princess, etc...

    Now of course I LOVE A Wrinkle in Time, and all that kind of stuff - but as a child I just didn't "get" it at all!

  5. (oh and I need to chime in about The Bobbsey Twins (original series only) and the Happy Hollisters... We quite did all our book shopping at the used bookstores when I was a child - not to save money but because that was where we could find what I'd read! and given how quickly I could get through a Bobbsey Twin book - I think somewhere at my parents I have a collection that should be close to every single one ever published because I know I had to have read most of them...)

  6. Stonesoupbooks, your comment made me grin. I'd forgotten that Pippi did that, and seem to recall giving it a very brief (as in minutes) try.

    Carrie-Ann, seriously. Long-lost twin! I know I read one Trixie Belden, and read Mrs. Frisby at some point or other; I just don't remember them as well.

    barefootmeds, I loved both girls, and Klara is such a beautiful name. :)

    Alison, that's funny! A lot of these I did get more out of as an adult, even if I loved them as a kid, but A Little Princess is one of my all-time favorites. I played pretend well into my teens on the strength of that book. Also, I didn't own the Bobbsey Twins, but I read every last one the library possessed. :)

  7. The first books I remember were fairy tales and the Bobbsey Twins. I liked Little Women (although it would be at least a decade before I actually finished it), Alcott's Jack and Jill, The Five Little Peppers, and Pollyanna, and I sort of liked Heidi. I also read some Nancy Drew, but she seemed so exotic and too perfect; was there anything she couldn't do?

    Carrie-Ann, the first books I really loved and couldn't get enough of, and that seemed like real life to me,  were the Trixie Belden books (the first several are just wonderful, and I eventually got about 32 of the books). What I find interesting now is the soul triptych in the first book--Trixie (mind), Jim (body), and Honey (spirit or heart). I still enjoy rereading these books.

    I didn't discover the beloved 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and Rebecca, until my twenties, and also wouldn't have cared for sf or fantasy as a child. I simply wasn't exposed to it beyond the basic fairy tales. Although my parents were big into us reading, there wasn't cross-generational reading as there is now, so we didn't discuss the stories we read with them as many kids do today.

    I'm planning on doing some classics rereading this year--LW, Heidi, the Peppers, and Pollyanna.


  8. by the late 80s, most of the public libraries (at least around me) had a very sparse selection of original Bobbsey Twin books (like 2-10 at most)... probably have none now... one reason I'm kind of glad they're still in a box at my parents somewhere - if I ever get married and have kids we won't have to hunt them all down again!

    of course I also just found this: http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/h#a367 Bobbsey Twin books free! Going to have to download one for my kindle to read for old times sakes (I can't read most "old" books anymore due to my allergies)

  9. Childhood was slightly a long time ago for me & I read so much & so often it's hard to remember favorites. The ones that pop into my mind most readily are The Chronicles of Narnia & The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I also read McCaffrey's Pern series a lot.

  10. Arabella, I feel like I read The Five Little Peppers at some point, but it must have been very long ago; I don't remember it. Also, I love Pollyanna--I just don't remember when I first read it. :D

    Another vote for Trixie Belden. Interesting...

    Alison, ooh! I didn't realize the twins had made it into the public domain. Thanks for the link. :)

    George, I only heard of Pern recently, but I intend to try it out. :)


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