I have been an avid reader since I was a small child. I don’t recall a time where books weren’t a huge part of my life. I was read to before bed each night. There were books in my home. We took almost weekly trips to the library where I checked out stacks of books. Reading has always been a part of me.
Today, I am going to talk about the top 5 books I remember from my childhood. These books were huge influences on me and have stayed strong in my memory as books that have helped shaped my reading tastes.
- Who Stole the Wizard of Oz by Avi I still remember the first time I read this. I was in about third grade and my mom suggested I try a mystery book. Since mysteries had a skull and cross bone image on the spin, I assumed they were scary books. Now, this book is not scary at all. It’s about a girl who is accused of stealing some books from the library book sale. Desperate to clear her names, the girl and her brother investigate and are led to a mysterious treasure that is hidden in the town. There are no murders, monsters, or ghosts, but I still managed to get scared by this very charming story. However, I still loved it and ended up reading it every year for pretty much the rest of my life. There’s just something about it that I am drawn to again and again.
2. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM by Robert C. O’Brian My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Drum, read this to us during read aloud and I was immediately enchanted. I loved the world of Mrs. Frisby, as dangerous and frightening as it could be. The story of the rats intrigued me and sparked my imagination. While I found the movie to be less enthralling (and infinitely more frightening), it did lend some inspiration to my very first fanfic, which was a sequel to the book. I gifted my teacher with that sequel and have a copy of it tucked away somewhere for my future amusement.
3. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis Once again, this was introduced to me by Mrs. Drum. I loved the world of Narnia. I was enthralled by the world trapped in winter. I loved the heroic Pevensies and the majestic Aslan. The White Witch was a marvelous villain and I was intrigued by the idea of a candy so great, it caused someone to betray their family. Sadly, Turkish Delight was not as good as the book advertised, but I still love the series.
4. Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede This book was introduce to me through some sort of book contest. I read it in seventh or eighth grade along with some other books and then voted on which I liked the best. This one won for me. I couldn’t put it down. I remember rushing through my work in World History so I could get back to reading this book. I even read when being showed a movie. There was no way a movie about the Oregon Trail could compete with a princess who ran away to live with a dragon.
5. Beauty by Robin McKinley Probably my favorite book of all time, I initially rejected reading because I thought it was a Sleeping Beauty story and because it was written in first person. Why I was so disdainful of either of those things, I don’t know, but I almost immediately put it back on the shelf. However, a series of injuries led me to be exiled from PE and in the library for weeks on end (not a burden at all) and I decided to give this book a try. Not only did I discover it was a Beauty and the Beast story, but I also found a heroine I greatly admired and related to. I have read this story so many times that I could probably recited some of it from memory. It is the book I turn to in times of depression and what I want to read when I am at my happiest. This book is magical and I am truly glad I gave it a chance.
Those are my top childhood books. What are yours? Drop a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!