As an avid reader, one of the side effects of having a baby is reliving your own childhood reading experiences. At least for me it has been! I was in a used book store the other day and spent $25 on books for my son that he won’t even be interested in for at least 5 years – I bought the first five Famous Five books and the first six Boxcar Children books. All because I loved them as a child. Crazy? Maybe, but I enjoyed every minute of the shopping and look forward to sharing the experience of reading those books with him in the future.
We all had different favorites as a child, which may or may not have shaped our current reading habits. Below are a few of mine that I hope to share with my child (and any future children!).
Enid Blyton– was an English children’s writer who wrote over 600 books between 1922 and 1964. Her books have been criticized as being elitist, sexist, racist, and xenophobic – perhaps owing to the time in which she lived and wrote – yet they have continued to be bestsellers since her death in 1968. I read many of Blyton’s books as a child, but my favorites were the Famous Five, the Secret Seven and the Adventure Series.
The Famous Five Series is about five children who get caught up in an adventure each time they meet while home from boarding school. The Secret Seven are a group of child detectives who solve mysteries in each novel. Similarly the Adventure Series is eight children’s novels about Philip, Jack, Dinah, and Lucy-Ann, and Jack’s pet parrot, Kiki,who go off on their own and solving mysteries.
As you can see there is a theme here of mystery and adventure in my choices!
Box Car Children is a children’s series originally published starting in 1924. The first book tells the story of four orphans – Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny – who create a home for themselves in an abandoned boxcar in the forest. They eventually meet their grandfather, who they ultimately decide to live with. Continuing with my adventure theme, the subsequent books involve adventures and mysteries in their neighborhood or in places they visit on vacation.
Sweet Valley High – Now, granted, my son James will probably not be interested in this series, but I hope one day to have a daughter! Therefore I cannot leave out the Sweet Valley High series. This series of over 150 books (created by Francine Pascal, but written by a team of ghostwriters) follow identical twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield, who live in Sweet Valley, California, and attend Sweet Valley High. I would read and re-read these books endlessly as a pre-teen, and lets be honest probably into my teens too. Pascal also created Sweet Valley Twins and Sweet Valley University, which followed the twins in grade 6 and University respectively – I also devoured these!
I still enjoy adventure and mystery books to this day and I hope by reading some of my favorites to my children they will learn to love reading as much as I do.
What are your favorite books from when you were a child?