Monday, March 16, 2009

Reading Life Phases: Childhood Favorites

Looking back at my reading patterns, I noticed that my reading really goes through phases, so I thought I'd do a mini series on reading phases in my life. Today I discuss childhood favorites (through the 8th grade).

Anyone remember the Moby Books series of illustrated classics specially adapted for young readers? We got pretty much the whole series at a used book store when I was a child and they were my first favorite books (that I recall). I used to read them aloud to my parents and whenever I came across an unfamiliar word, I would try to skip it. "Sound it out," my father or mother would say. I think they probably used that phrase a lot! I am sure it was through this series that I got my love for the classics. (Read more about the series and see more covers at Books are People, Too.)

I also very clearly remember loving Beverly Cleary's Ramona books, Charlotte's Web by EB White, The Time Quartet by Madeleine L'Engle, Anne of Green Gables, The Narnia books and the Neverending Story by Michael Ende.

Then I went through my fairy tale phase where I read all the classic fairytales compilations I could get my hands on.

At some point, I started reading series books with a vengence - Nancy Drew, Babysitter's Club, Sweet Valley Twins, the Mandie books by Lois Gladys Leppard, and others.

Then came my teen romance phase where I read a lot of the Sweet Dreams series as well as any others my library had available. I remember going to a library book sale with my father and getting around 200 teen romances. I was in heaven. Well, until I discovered Harlequin historicals at grandma's house at age 12.

Next came my "scary" book phase: Lois Duncan, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Christopher Pike, VC Andrews and any books with a paranormal premise (no vampires but more special powers like astral projection and telekinesis).


In 8th grade, I started to get more serious. I read Newberry books like Elizabeth George Speare's The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Katherine Paterson's Jacob I Have Loved and Bridge to Terebithia, Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword and Hero and the Crown and books by Lois Lowry and Norma Fox Mazer.

Next time: High school and exchange year in Ecuador...

What were some of your favorite childhood books?

36 comments:

Amy said...

witch if blackbird pond is a good one...
one of my fave childhood books were these cartoon books. One was about a cannibal lady, another about a bad guy who was turned into a donkey, another about a girl who lived under the sea. I forgot most of the plots but I remember I was so fascinated by them. That's why I loved fairy tales and retelling so much I guess.
-amy

Phoenix said...

Oh, I remember those illustrated classics! I devoured them. They're probably the major reason I'm as literate as I am. I even grew up to read some of the longer adaptations. ;-)

I remember going through a survival fiction phase when I was in jr. high--books like My Side of the Mountain and Hatchet.

Linda J said...

my childhood is so long ago it's hard to remember. I do remember reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon as well as lots of biographies. I went through a stage around 6th & 7th grade where I read nothing but biographies. I still enjoy reading them to this day.

Meredith said...

I remember reading a lot of books when I was a kid, but the series that I read the most was The Boxcar Children. My mom read them when she was a child, and that really fascinated me. So I read the books too and LOVED them!

~Meredith

H said...

I loved series books too. When I was really tiny, my favouites were the Alfie and Annie-Rose stories.

Reverie said...

have you ever seen Abarat?
http://www.thebooksofabarat.com/content4/noflash.html

A friend gave me these and they look totally neat. There are a few books but they are aimed for younger audiences. There's pictures that the author drew himself!!! Incredibly talented!!!

Reverie said...

OH!! but a personal favorite was childhood is The giver and Gathering Blue... looooved those books!!

Keri Mikulski said...

Great post! I remember those picture classics.

The Babysitters Club series and Nancy Drew.. :) I wasn't a very voracious reader as a kid.. I always wanted to read sporty books for girls. :)

Memory said...

Your childhood reading stages sound really familiar. I read a ton of those illustrated classics too, along with modern(ish) classics like Narnia and the Little House books. Then I read scads and scads of series books, including The Saddle Club and Sweet Valley Twins, before launching into a hardcore horror phase round about Grade Six.

In Grade Seven I quit with the children's stuff and started reading adult fantasy.

Melissa - Shhh I'm Reading said...

I loved those Lois Duncan books!

I also loved a lot of the Newberry books, and have started collecting my favs for my someday kids.

Iryna said...

I really loved Nancy Drew books too and when I stopped reading them I moved on to the Her Interactive games. If you haven't played them, I would seriously try Googling them.

Samira said...

I also loved the babysitters club! And I totally forgot about Christopher Pike! Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

Elizabeth said...

My scary phase came early, like elementary school. (R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike, Lois Duncan, Zilpha Keatley Snyder -- so glad you included her! I loved her! -- and Alvin Schwartz were all favorites.)

And my teen romance phase didn't begin in earnest until much later, like, three years ago when I started grad school...

Alea said...

200 teen romances? You are my hero Lenore! That's freaking awesome! I'm definitely excited about this series of yours!

I keep a notebook of books I've read since 6th grade or and have considered spotlight random books from it, but honestly most of them I don't even remember!

Marie Burton said...

Our phased were quite similar! I had also loved Encyclopedia Brown, & read Judy Blume's books a million times over.

Amee said...

I like how you're doing this in phases! I go through phases in my reading to an extent as well.

I had a ton of those Great Illustrated Classics books. They were all destroyed in a flood along with my American Girl series books about 5 years ago. I think my favorite was Oliver Twist. :P

I read a lot of what you read...minus the paranormal stuff. I was a chicken as a kid (still am!) so I have never read much of that sort of book.

I don't think I've ever gotten real serious in my reading. I've sampled the more serious literature but never made it a point to read it. I should though!

Ali said...

In grade school I remember loving the Little House books, then Harriet the Spy, Half Magic, and anything by Elizabeth Enright and Judy Blume. I had a VC Andrews phase in middle school and made a conscious decision not to read any more of hers by about 8th grade because I basically didn't want to live in her world anymore. Then there were those books I discovered while babysitting....but that's another story. LOL

Janssen said...

I was a total Sweet Valley twins fan.

I also loved the Little House books, the Emily series by L. M. Montgomery, Harriet the Spy, The Phantom Tollbooth, The Trumpet of the Swan (E. B. White's best book in my opinion), Half Magic (and all of Edgar Eager's other books), the Boxcar children, and anything by Ann Rinaldi.

charley said...

we had similar childhood tastes. in 3rd grade, i loved series - nancy drew, sweet valley high, baby-sitters club. in 5th grade, it was adventure/survival stories - island of the blue dolphins, my side of the mountain, call of the wild.

Pissenlit said...

The ones I remember most fondly are
Enid Blyton
-The Adventurous Four
-The Secret Seven series
Jean Little
-Little by Little(autobiography)
E. L. Konigsburg
-From the Mixed-Up Files of
Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
Willo Davis Roberts
-Megan's Island
Bernice Thurman Hunter
-The Booky trilogy
-The Margaret trilogy
-Lamplighter
Marilyn Halvorson
-Cowboys Don't Cry

Laina said...

All of those :P Plus tons of others, pretty much anything I could get my hands on.

Lenore said...

Amy - I didn't really get into fairy tales until later.

Phoenix - Yes, I read some of the orginals later too :)

Linda - I read a biography here and there, but I've never gone through a big biography phase.

Meredith - I read the Boxcar children too!

Lenore said...

H - Never heard of that series. Is it British?

Reverie - The Giver is awesome and I will have to check out Abarat.

Keri - I don't think I ever read any sporty girl books. But I'm glad you are writing them!

Memory - A lot of my friends were into Piers Anthony, but I never really got into adult fantasy (besides the Mode series).

Melissa - My 8th grade lit teacher, Mrs. Lorenzetti, really encouraged the newberry books and the classics. I need to go back and read more off the list.

Lenore said...

Iryna - I played Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego. Do you remember that?

Samira - The orginal 4 BSC books are my favorites.

Elizabeth - In elementary school I was too much of a chicken to read scary books.

Alea - I keep a list like that too, but it doesn't go that far back. Still there are some books, like PS I Love You from the SweetDreams series or SVH #40 On the Edge where Regina dies from trying cocaine, that I remember quite vividly.

Lenore said...

Marie - Right! How could I forget Judy Blume? Are you there God, It's me Margaret introduced me to the concept of a period!

Amee - That's so sad! I gave all my BSC, SVT and SVH books to my cousins. Wonder if they still have them?

Ali - Love Half Magic. I read it a couple of years ago because Lemony Snicket recommended it :)

Janssen - I read a few of the Emily books too.

Charley - I did a unit on Island of the Blue Dolphins in 5th grade in school. Also loved Jack London.

Lenore said...

Pissenlit - I need to read some Konigsburg.

Laina - :) Well, I didn't read everything. I had my standards..ha!

Steve said...

Lenore - I WATCHED Carmen San Diego on PBS, does that count? haha. Actually, Daniel kind of reminds me of one of the members of Acapela(sp?), the band, haha.

The books I recall the most are from the Weekly Reader bookclub I was in. I got a book in the mail (don't think I chose them) like once a month or something. I remember "Wrong Way Applebaum" and "The Indian in the Attic" or something like that. There were tons more, I think my mom still has a bookcase full of them I need to get for Scarlett someday.

Lenore said...

Steve - I was talking about the computer game but I also saw the show.

Are you talking about the Scholastic book club? I remember buying all those cute posters of puppies and kitties. And Apple paperbacks. My favorite was "Just a Little Bit Lost" but I also had the "Indian in the Cupboard".

H said...

Wow, you just had to work through a lot of replies!

Alfie and Annie-Rose might be British. They are picture books illustrated by Shirley Hughes.

Sadako said...

I loved a lot of the books listed there. Witches of Worm, Headless Cupid. Also, Lois Duncan, including Killing Mr. Griffin and Daughters of Eve.

Francesca Lia Block, which was more in adolescence, but still good.

Caroline B. Cooney's stuff. Face on the Milk Carton and all that.

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor and the Alice Books. And of course, anything by Judy Blume and Paula Danziger.

Ohh, and I LOOOVED The Giver!

carolsnotebook said...

We had a bunch of those illustrated classics , too. I remember reading every Nancy Drew and Sweet Valley High I could get my hands on. I'm sure there were more that I can't remember right now. It's funny that you mentioned the Boxcar children. My daughter loves those right now. We read them together before bed every night.

Alyce said...

I still have some of the illustrated classics, including The Count of Monte Cristo and the story of Corrie ten Boom.

Ladytink_534 said...

I vaguely remember these but I don't think I read any of them as I've never liked abridgedments. I remember loving all of those too and I also love re-reading them every once and awhile. I just finished Charlotte's Web last week. Oh I was a huge Babysitter's Club fan even if I didn't really care for babysitting lol. I moved on to a scary book phase too except mine was all of the RL Stein Fear Street books and when I was through with those I started my Stephen King collection.

lindsey-leavitt said...

I totally went through a lois duncan/christopher pike/rl stine phase in jr. high. The covers freaked me out then and now they just kind of look cheesy. I remember there was one, The Snowman (one of those Point Horror books, I think R.L. Stine wrote it), that gave me reoccuring nightmare that my boyfriend (didn't have one) would pack me into snow (I lived in Vegas). The REALISM was frightening.

Trish said...

Lois Duncan, Christopher Pike, RL Stine!! Absolutely loved those back in 7th and 8th grade. Until I couldn't sleep at night (up reading and up scared!!). :) Now I don't touch anything scary. Great list of books!

debbiesworld said...

I loved Sweet Valley books, Christopher Pike and Lois Duncan. I also loved the Babysitter's Club books and RL Stine.