Excited, that is, until this week. This week's topic is "books I wish I had read as a child", and the happy fact is that I can't think of one. I've read most of the children's classics, and plenty more besides. I even tried looking at other people's list to see if maybe I was just blocking out titles that I felt ashamed to say I'd never read, but nope...I'm actually thrilled as can be with my childhood reading selections.
But I love lists! What's a list-loving book blogger to do? Why, chan...er....modify the topic slightly, of course. So here, rather than book I wish I had read as a kid, I will revisit a past topic I did not get to participate in-my favorite childhood books. There were so many I'm going to have a hard time narrowing it down to just ten.
Bridge to Terebithia, Katherine Paterson-I love this story of Jess and Leslie and their unlikely friendship. This is also the first time I understood that children can die. I can't read this aloud to my classes today because I sill cry every time.
Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret, Judy Blume-I'm pretty sure that there are women about my age all over the country who would choose this coming of age story as one of their favorites. I was so disappointed to read Blume's adult works later in life. They just didn't hold a candle to her young adult books.
Island of the Blue Dolphins, Scott O'Dell-This was my introduction to strong female characters. I so admires Karana and her ability to keep herself alive, and never to lose hope. Plus, I've sort of always wanted to live on an island, though preferably not alone in a hut.
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, Judith Kerr-This may have been the first book I read about the Holocaust, and it started a life-long interest in the subject. The thought that your whole life could be stolen away from you in the blink of an eye was frightening, and as I got older I appreciated how Kerr used Anna's story to introduce young readers to the idea of oppression.
Jacob, Have I Loved, Katherine Paterson-I so identified with Louise in this book. As a quiet kid who was pretty shy, I often felt misunderstood by my peers and I understood her jealousy of the ease with which her sister lived in the world.. Louise was another strong female character that I adored.
The Narnia series, C.S. Lewis-My first fantasy series, but certainly not my last. I had the rare and intense pleasure of watching the first book, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe turned into the story into a movie that was EXACTLY like I had imagined reading it all those years ago.
Across Five Aprils, Irene Hunt-I've always been a fan of historical fiction, and this is probably one of the first ones I read. It was unusual for me to find strong connections with male characters when I was a girl, but I did with this one.
The Secret Garden, Francis Hodgson Burnett-Oh, how I cried when Colin stood up and walked to his father for the first time. And as hateful as Mary can be, you can't help but feel sorry for the poor orphan living in that cold, looming house.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betsy Smith-Francie was one of my favorite characters growing up, and I still reread this one every few years. Historical fiction meets coming of age story-two of my favorite things all rolled into one.
Rutabaga Stories, Carl Sandburg-I checked this book out of the school library so many times the librarian offered to get me my own copy. A collection of humorous short stories, Sandberg's gift for language and down-home sort of humor was a hit with me.
The Cay, Theodore Taylor-When my teacher read this aloud to us in fifth grade, I was captivated. Living in an all white suburb of Chicago in the 70s, I had never really had any exposure to issues of race or racism. This book opened my eyes to the absurdity of separating ourselves from each other on the basis of the melanin content of our skin.
A Summer to Die, Lois Lowry-Like many a pre-teen, I was a bit of a tragedy junkie. This book by Lois Lowry fit the bill. The story of a young girl whose sister gets cancer and dies is still a tearjerker.
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Mildred Taylor-Taylor's writing is a masterpiece of historical fiction and character development. While The Cay may have been my first exposure to racism, Taylor's works certainly helped me put what I learned into a historical perspective.