Today I want to talk about something near and dear to my heart: children’s literature.
I’ve been an avid reader since I was little. Picture books, chapter books, I devoured them all. During summer vacation you could find me camped out on our porch swing with a book and a bag of Goldfish and I’d stay there all day. New books were awesome, but there were a few titles that I read over and over again.
I mentioned this in a post last week, but sometimes you age out of a certain genre or series. As you get older, certain books lose their appeal. Maybe the subject matter doesn’t interest you anymore (you grow out of your horse phase, for example… not that I’m speaking from experience… 😉 ). Maybe you find that you can’t connect to the characters anymore and that’s okay!
There are some books, though, that you love forever. I still re-read these books as an adult. They’re just as engaging and enjoyable now as they were when I was young.
I’m leaving out a few of the obvious ones, like Harry Potter or Little House on the Prairie. A couple of my picks are Newbery winners, which I didn’t realize until I pulled them all off my shelves. Apparently I have the same taste as the American Library Association.
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The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
Like most kids, I loved action and adventure stories. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle isn’t exactly pirate-y, but it has the same vibe. I remember that I was particularly excited about the fact that the main character is a girl. The high-seas setting, and Charlotte’s decision to choose her own path made this book a re-read. As a adult, I’m surprised by the maturity of the content (**spoiler alert** Charlotte gets put on trial for murder) but it’s still a fun read.
P.S. Longer Letter Later and Snail Mail No More by Danziger and Martin
My copies of these books are completely falling apart. I loved them then and I love them now. The two main characters communicate through letters (and later e-mail). These novels perfectly capture what it’s like to be a young teenager. You’re still a kid, but you’re starting to see the adult worries in your life. These books made me believe that deep, lasting friendship was possible.
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
I don’t know what it is with kids and survival adventure. I think it has to do with burgeoning independence and self-reliance. Island of the Blue Dolphins is really depressing, which is made worse by the fact that it’s based on a true story. As an adult, I’m sort of horrified by this book but I still love it. Karana goes through so many unimaginable hardships, yet she fights on. I also loved My Side of the Mountain and the Julie of the Wolves series by Jean Craighead George.
Holes by Louis Sachar
When you’re forced to read a book for school, and you still love it, even after analyzing it to death, you know it’s a keeper. Everything about this book is awesome. It deals with body shaming, racial tension and authority in an accessible way. Yet again, I seem to have a soft spot for survival stories…
Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix
This twist on Cinderella might have been my first introduction to feminism. Ella is supposed to marry the prince, but what happens if she doesn’t? This is a book about deciding what matters in your own life, and bucking tradition when it doesn’t suit you. I related to Ella so much more than the traditional fairy tale princesses. This is a book I think all kids should read, both male and female.
What about you, readers? Do you have a book from childhood that you still love to read?