What books did you read as a child? Did you get lost inside the illustrated tales? Did you lose yourself in Judy Blume’s world? No matter the stories you checked-out from the library or filled your bookshelves with, it is no secret that any children’s book plays a monumental role in developing a lifelong passion for reading. It just takes one book to alter a child’s feelings about stories.
There are many books that I consider to be pivotal forms of literature that ignited my passion for creating stories. There were a number of books that I had trouble putting down, shutting the cover on. It was how often I read and re-read the same stories that I knew how special they were.
Here is a list of books that I loved as a child and wish I could get my hands onto again. While this list is only a glimpse into my bookshelf many years ago, I was sure to include the stories that I am able to remember. From some, I can still recall the illustrations, dialogue, themes, and how the younger version of myself felt while reading them.
Who didn’t love the fun rhymes and character banter of Dr. Seuss? I can still recall and recite (some) of the youthful lines of Green Eggs and Ham and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. My favorite Seuss books were Hop on Pop, There’s A Wocket In My Pocket, and Wacky Wednesday. Silly words would fill the pages above and beneath colorful illustrations. Seuss’ themes were quite powerful, though. Oh, The Places You’ll Go and The Sneetches are just two examples. The fictional, fantasy words were ones that captivated youthful minds and pleased the parents too.
Poppleton was a pig. This cute series was teaching young eyes and minds about alliteration before we even recognized. Cynthia Rylant is the author of a pig who moved from the city to the country. His animal friends, a llama, goat, and more were never far behind. This children’s series truly was the cutest.
Clifford The Big Red Dog
Norman Bridwell created a gentle, lovable big dog with much smaller canine friends; fluffy purple Cleo and yellow bulldog T-Bone. His human owner, Emily Elizabeth, shared with him a friendship and a whole bunch of exciting adventures. This story was also adapted into a television show, one I remember watching in the afternoon. Besides Clifford himself, T-Bone was my favorite pup in the show.
Amelia Bedelia was the silly character written by Peggy Parish. Since Parish’s passing, a statue of Bedelia had been placed in her South Carolina hometown, right outside a local library. The premise of Amelia Bedelia was that she took figures of speech literally. If instructed to draw the drapes, she’d grab a box of crayons and paper, sketching the drapes. When told to dress the turkey, she would grab a set of clothes to style the turkey in. Amelia Bedelia was a maid with a mind of her own. She was quirky and high-spirited. No matter her interpretations of household chores, she exuded happiness and confidence. She was always so sure of herself, a great message to be introduced to kids early in life.
Mercer Mayer wrote the Little Critter series. The illustrations in particular were ones I enjoyed. Little Critter was a small creature that mimicked something of a hedgehog or porcupine. Little Critter often made mistakes and caused mischief. At the end, Little Critter always learned his lesson. Besides the stack of Little Critter books I owned, I also got my hands onto a computer game that was its own form of Little Critter storytelling.
The Berenstain Bears was a series enjoyed and loved by many. I am happy to say that I was an avid reader of the bear family. One of my favorite Berenstain Bears books was The Messy Room and The Trailblazer. The most memorable was The Bully. This series was also made into a television show. Watching the Berenstain Bears on television was one of my favorite times of day when I was a kid. A snack would also accompany as I watched.
A green turtle named Franklin, written by Paulette Bourgeois. Franklin is always learning a lesson or two. Franklin learns the punishment of what lying can cause and how being bossy is bad. Who knew a turtle could be so relatable and represent a good role model for children. While an odd confession, I remember the name of Franklin’s sister, Harriet. I was in awe of the name and the beauty of it. This may have been the story that influenced my obsession with careful naming of characters and the beauty a single name can hold.
Henry and Mudge
A boy and his dog. It’s a cute story about the adventures and journeys of a boy named Henry and his handsome pup Mudge. On rainy days the duo would build forts together. This series was the perfect reminder that a best friend wasn’t always a person. Anyone or anything could be a friend. Pets were certainly included.
Geronimo Stilton was a clever series that I read during my upper Elementary years. The uniqueness of this series goes beyond the cheese-loving mouse. The text of the books were typed in special fonts and colors. The colorful font added to the story’s excitement and allure of mouse-themed lexicon and references.
Amber Brown is NOT a crayon! These books were a fun series. I think one of the reasons why I enjoyed Amber Brown so much is because my mom and I would read them together. Amber Brown was a great book about family and friendship.
Judy Blume is the talented author behind the Fudge series alongside Peter Hatcher. I can remember reading these stories on the weekends and during summer. Invisibly etched into the covers is the scent of summer and sun, blowing through the open windows of my bedroom. I can smell the fresh scent and feel the summer sun on my skin. A comfortable atmosphere is always a nice memory and connection to have in relation to any story.
The Boxcar Children
Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny are parentless siblings who solve their own mysteries together, helping to find the villains and chaos-casting people. The four children are also homeless, having to make fort in an abandoned box car. Together, the siblings make out quite well, their own characteristics and strengths complimenting each other. The job of cracking mysterious will always get solved as long as they work together.
Beezus and Ramona
Beverly Cleary wrote this series about sisterly-sibling rivalry. The family and sibling component holds similar youthfulness to Judy Blume’s Fudge series. The shenanigans between sisters in the midst of a hectic household can make a lot of sense in the lives of children. Beverly Cleary was also the speaker of my high school senior quote. Her advice on writing is one I will hold close to me forever.
Guess How Much I Love You
I saved this book for last. I saved it for last because it was a book that my mom and I shared together. It’s an adorable book about a mother rabbit and her baby rabbit, Little Nut Brown Hair. The mother and baby love each other to the moon and back. It’s a cute tail perfect for any mother and daughter duo.