Favorite childhood books you should totally read again.

For the 2015 Reading Challenge, I’m blogging through one category per month, in order. (Don’t worry—you don’t have to read them in order.)

So far we’ve covered:

  1. a book you’ve been meaning to read
  2. a book published this year
  3. a book in a genre you don’t typically read

This month we’re tackling category #4: “a book from your childhood.”

You have creative license as you approach this category: some of you are re-reading a favorite childhood book. Some of you are reading a book you knew about as a kid, that maybe even sat on your bookshelves, but you never read.

Some of you are reading new titles from a favorite childhood author. I’m thinking of doing this myself: I was obsessed with The Baby-Sitters Club as a kid, and I have zero desire to re-read those now. But Martin’s new YA novel Rain Reign is on my reading list, and I might read that for this category. That might be pushing it a little, but there aren’t any Reading Police around here.

Today I’m sharing seven of my actual childhood favorites—the books I read and loved as a kid. I can’t wait to hear yours—and what you’re reading for this category—in comments.

favorite childhood books

Bridge to Terabithia

Bridge to Terabithia

At its core, this is a story about a beautiful friendship between two fifth grade kids who seemed so real that my ten-year-old self could hardly believe Jess and Leslie existed only on the page. I found myself wishing I had my own magical kingdom in the woods I could escape to, and I bawled my eyes out at the end. A moving, multi-layered story about the beauty of childhood and the searing pain of loss.

More info →
Ramona the Pest

Ramona the Pest


The prolific Cleary wrote simple (and funny) stories that kids love to read. Her characters ring true because Cleary based them on her real-life friends and actual neighbors on Klickitat Street in Portland, a street just a few blocks away from her childhood home. Ramona is her best-loved character: I read every book about her, many times. Ramona the Pest is a wonderful place to start: 5-year-old Ramona heads off to kindergarten, where she learns that kindergarten—and life—are full of misunderstandings.

More info →
The Phantom Tollbooth

The Phantom Tollbooth


I probably wasn't old enough to appreciate this instant classic when I first read it as a child, but that didn't stop me. (Thank goodness.) 10-year-old Milo comes home from school one day to find a tollbooth sitting in his bedroom. Since he doesn’t have anything better to do, he pays the toll and drives through–and embarks on a strange journey into a fanciful world where he encounters all sorts of strange characters. A satisfying and delightfully nerdy book that will engage both kids and adults, albeit on different levels.

More info →
A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time

L’Engle begins her groundbreaking science fiction/fantasy work with the famous opening line “It was a dark and stormy night,” and plunges you headlong into the world of the Murray family, who must travel through time to save the universe. I wanted to be Meg, of course. Wrinkle is the first—and most famous—of the Time Quintet, but I read them all, again and again.

More info →
Where the Red Fern Grows

Where the Red Fern Grows


A story of a boy and his dogs, and about so much more: love and yearning, struggle and poverty, and hunting—which means it's necessarily about death. My fifth grade teacher made a class of thirty students cry, excepting none, when she read the final chapters aloud. Of note: Rawls spent twenty years writing this novel, then burned it out of embarrassment. Lucky for us, his wife encouraged him to write it again, and he dashed off the whole thing (sans punctuation) in three weeks. Originally published as an adult novel, it still didn't sell until teachers and students got ahold of it.

More info →
The Secret of the Old Clock

The Secret of the Old Clock


The first of many, many mysteries I would come to read in this highly addictive series published under the pseudonym of Carolyn Keene. This is one of the all-time bestselling children's books in English: it's sold nearly 3 million copies. The writing may not hold up on an adult's re-read, but I love the Nancy Drew series anyway: she's smart, she's brave, and she's the one rescuing her boyfriend, instead of the other way around.

More info →
Emily of New Moon

Emily of New Moon

If you come to Montgomery’s later, darker series expecting to find a second Anne, you’re bound to be disappointed. Luckily, my grade school self had no such preconceived notions. These were the first books that I finished under the covers with a flashlight at 2:00 a.m. because I had to know where Emily’s hopes, dreams, and disappointments led her. More info →

What were your favorite childhood books, and what are you reading for this category in the reading challenge?

more posts you might enjoy


Leave A Comment
  1. Heather says:

    Greensleeves by Eloise Jarvis McGraw — and it’s just newly back in print thanks to Nancy Pearl and her Book Crush Rediscoveries!

  2. Jennifer H says:

    I loved the Trixie Belden mystery series as a child, and recently read aloud the first one in the series to the 11-year-old. It was fine, but no where near as good as I remember.

  3. Jamie says:

    Good list – there are several on here that I never read! Some of my favorites were Perilous Guard (now sadly out of print), The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Across Five Aprils,
    From the Mixed Up Filed of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and the True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. I also enjoyed the “Mandie” series.

    I HATED Tuck Everlasting, despite my reading-teacher-mother’s insistence that it was a great book. 🙂

    • Katie629 says:

      My copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond is literally falling apart at the seams…loved that book in 5th grade! Charlotte Doyle was another awesome literary girl

    • Ooh, how could I forget The Witch of Blackbird Pond in my list! I am a huge fan of historical fiction. 🙂

      And if you loved The Mixed-Up Files, have you read The View from Saturday? Another by E.L. Konigsburg and so, so good.

  4. Amy says:

    All of a Kind Family series by Sydney Taylor. Thankfully my mother saved these because they are out of print now (except maybe the first) and I’ve read them to my daughters.

    • Ooh, yes, All of a Kind Family! We have the first two and our library still has the others but this series needs to be re-released ASAP!

      If I return to childhood favorites I usually reach for the Little House Books, especially Little House in the Big Woods or Farmer Boy.

      I think I might like to re-read The Secret Garden again sometime. Loved it as a girl but haven’t read it in years, although I did buy my favorite copy so my girls could read it. LOVE introducing books to my kids – it’s one of my favorite parenting perks. 😉

      • Jill Porco says:

        I was and am a BIG Little House fan! My favorite is On the Banks of Plum Creek, but I read all of them multiple times. My dad finally gave me the boxed set when I was 10 as a reward for a good school year. I was ecstatic!

    • Lee Ann says:

      Oh, definitely All of a Kind Family. I loved those books when I was a girl – the large, loving family, the setting which was totally different from my small California town.

      How about Elizabeth Enright’s The Saturdays (and its sequels) or her Gone-Away Lake? The Saturdays made New York seem so magical. Enright is excellent at establishing a sense of place in her books!

      Another author who I loved as a girl was Zilpha Keatley Snyder, especially The Velvet Room and Season of Ponies.

      I didn’t read Lucy Maud Montgomery until I was an adult, and sorry, but I never want to re-read the Emily books. Teddy’s freaky mom and Dean Priest creep me out. Maybe I should re-read Jane of Lantern Hill this month.

    • Lulu64 says:

      Yes! I thought my sister and I were the only ones who’d ever read All-of-a-Kind Family! Sis and loved the food descriptions – I want to get a variety of broken crackers from a barrel and hot chickpeas in a cone of paper from a street vendor!

  5. Ashley says:

    Caddie Woodlawn
    Stewart Little
    The Trumpet of the Swans
    Mr. Poppers Penguins
    The Little House books
    The Family Under the Bridge (Natalie Carlson)

    • Jill Porco says:

      Nancy Drew was my mom’s introduction to me of my favorite genre–mysteries! She even had The Secret of the Old Clock that came in the blue cover with the orange cover cut of Nancy! I still have it. I will always be forever grateful that she did that.

  6. Ariana says:

    I’m currently reading The Phantom Tollbooth aloud to my kids. I never read it as a child but am glad I’m doing so now. The author’s play on words has me laughing out loud every 2 minutes, as my kids stare at me in bewilderment (most of the irony is going right over their heads).

  7. So many thoughts!

    I recently bought the Emily series for Kindle, because I’ve never read it. My best friend loooooves Emily of New Moon, though, as I remember it being her “comfort reading” when we were in college. I have never read Bridge to Terabithia, so when I went with said best friend (who obviously read better than I did as a child!) to see the movie, I was pretty shocked. (And bawled.)

    I read voraciously as a child. The favorites I remember best are the Betsy-Tacy books, Ramona, the Fudge books, All of a Kind Family, Little Women, The Secret Garden, and Charlotte’s Web (and other EB White books). I loved Boxcar Children, too, but I’ve been trying to read the first one to my daughter and it’s not been the enchanting experience I was hoping for!

    For the challenge I am going to reread Mandy by Julie Edwards (you know … Julie Andrews, only she went by her married name to write). I looooved it as a kid but I don’t remember very much about it, other than that it was sort of Secret Garden-like.

  8. Diane G says:

    I loved Nancy Drew, the Borrowers series by Mary Norton, anything by Dr. Seuss, but especially Horton Hatches an Egg, and the Madeline series by Ludwig Bemelmans. My childhood was in the 60’s and 70’s and I loved reading as a child, so there were so many books I loved. My parents subscribed to the Weekly Reader Book Club and it was through this that I read so many wonderful stories: We Were Tired of Living in a House by Liesel Moak Skorpen and Christina Katerina and the Box by Patricia Lee Gauch and Andrew Henry’s Meadow by Doris Burn were additional favorites.

    thanks for this trip down memory lane and now I’m off to see if I can buy these books for my personal library!

  9. Karen says:

    For the challenge, I am rereading the Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace. Other favorites: the Anne of Green Gables series, Little House on the Prairie series (was there anything better than going to the library to get the next book(s) in a series you loved?), the Beezus/Ramona/Henry Huggins books, Mandy, by Julie Andrews Edwards, The Secret Garden, and the Betsy books by Carolyn Haywood.

  10. Amy says:

    Wow – Great list!

    I read the Phantom Tollbooth three or four times in third grade; I’ve gone back to it a few times since then, and still love it so much.

    I also really like the Boxcar Children series as a kid, and am hoping to start reading them aloud to my boys (ages 3 and 4) soon.

  11. Caitlyn says:

    I love that you mentioned Emily of New Moon. She was always my favorite (along with Magic for Marigold).

    And Madeline L’Engle – although I always kind of liked her series about the Austins best.

    • Anne says:

      I’ve never read Magic for Marigold! Or at least I can’t remember reading Magic for Marigold. I’d always thought I’d never read Jane of Lantern Hill, but I re-read it this year and the story was very, very familiar. 🙂

  12. Jessica says:

    So many childhood favorites, but the ones I re-read a few times were The Borrowers, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nymh, Dr. Dolittle, and anything my Roald Dahl or Madeleine L’Engle. Also just about all of the Nancy Drew mysteries, which my kids have discovered now. I am having fun re-living my own bookish experiences through them 🙂

    • Helene M Watt says:

      I still love any thing by Roald Dahl. He also has some great
      adult short stories that are such fun to read.

  13. Ana says:

    “my ten-year-old self could hardly believe Jess and Leslie existed only on the page”

    Can I confess there are just a few literary characters, that even as an adult, seem very real to me? Hopefully I’m not the only one that never grew up in that sense! Great books on this list–mine are any LM Montgomery, the Little House books, Secret Garden and A Little Princess.

  14. Joani says:

    I think the Ramona books are even more entertaining as an adult, I don’t know that I always knew how humorous they were although I did enjoy them when I was little. I also liked Treasures from Grandma’s Attic and like it now for similar reasons.

  15. Susan says:

    Great list! I loved The Secret Garden as a kid (and still do!) Thanks to an older cousin, I had the complete set of Nancy Drew mysteries, but gave them away when I got to college. All I could imagine was the embarrassment of having a dorm-mate walk into my room and see all those yellow-spined books in my room. How I wish I still had them! For the challenge, I plan to read Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. And I know I will need tissues handy. It always makes me cry 🙂

    • The Secret Garden and Island of the Blue Dolphins have always been a couple of favorites of mine (I have a few). Thanks for mentioning Nancy Drew. Growing up, I really wanted to read them. I think I’m just going to have to buy a couple, now. 🙂

  16. Corby says:

    Ralph and the Motorcycle, Johnny Tremaine, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, How to Eat Fried Worms, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

    I’m going to read A Wrinkle in Time

  17. Tim says:

    I just finished re-reading the Artemis Fowl series, and while it isn’t from my own childhood I think it was well worth the time to re-read.

    The classic from my own childhood that I love to read over and over is A Fly Went By, followed closely in my opinion by Go Dog Go. Dog is a delightful romp, but Fly is positively Aristotelian in its story structure. Plus it’s a hoot of an adventure.

  18. Nancy B. says:

    Also, the Jean Craighead George books including Far Side of the Mountain, Tree Castle Island, Julie of the Wolves. And the Will Hobbs books including Downriver, The Maze, Ghost Canoe, and Kokopelli’s Flute.

  19. Beth says:

    I loved all of these as a child. I was in a Babysitters’ Club Collectors’ Club, so I have probably 200 or so of them (including the special and mystery editions). They don’t hold up all that well upon rereading as an adult–but I spent too much time collecting them to get rid of them!

    I love the Emily series as well. I have decided that the essential difference between this series and the Anne series is that Anne is more lovable, while Emily is more relatable. Both are lovely!

    Some additional favorites from my childhood: Up a Road Slowly, The Sign of the Beaver, Julie of the Wolves, and Little Women

    I also am curious about which books people disliked as children. I hated Island of the Blue Dolphins when I had to read it in fifth grade because I found it horribly depressing.

  20. liz n. says:

    An incomplete list of favorites from various ages of my childhood:

    Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
    The Blood Bay Colt
    One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
    Across Five Aprils
    Encyclopedia Brown
    The Borrowers
    Harold and the Purple Crayon
    Little Bear
    Misty of Chincoteague
    From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
    Black Beauty
    The Hobbit
    Henry Huggins
    The Wind in the Willows
    Any of Richard Scarry’s “Busytown” books
    Where the Wild Things Are
    Ramona the Brave
    A Wrinkle in Time
    The Boxcar Children

    And I will admit that I never liked “The Cat in the Hat.” When I was four years old, I had a very stressful week in which I was convinced that cat was going to show up at our house and create all kinds of havoc.

    • Much overlap in my favorites and yours! I also enjoyed “Across Five Aprils” (and anything historical fiction) and Encyclopedia Brown as well. I confess that I only read The Hobbit for the first time as a teenager–I hope that will not be the case with my children. 🙂

      • liz n. says:

        I first read “The Hobbit” when I was nine years old and thought it was a history book! My dad gave it to me, along with a binder to use for a reading journal, and the first line of my entry for “The Hobbit” reads: “How come we don’t get to learn Middle Earth history yet? Is that for college?” Ha ha ha!

  21. Julie R says:

    Yes to all of these! I read ALL the time as a kid, and would love to re-read other faves like the Anne of GG series, Jane of Lantern Hill, the Redwall series, Island of the Blue Dolphins, the Little House series, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Girl of the Limberlost…there are just too many! 🙂 I’ve had a blast reading some of them aloud with my kids though.

  22. Lisa S says:

    I just finished reading Old Yeller. Sniff. Won’t be able to do Where the Red Fern Grows any time soon. But I want to eventually. I’ve never read that one.

  23. Keri says:

    I loved Pippi Longstocking as a child. I recently founds out that Astrid Lingren wrote other books. I am looking forward to reading Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter.

  24. anna chan says:

    I have never read “Where the red fern grows”, but my daughter loves it and has re-read it several times. My favorites were the “Nancy Drew”, “Little House” and “Cherry Ames” series. There was another series written by Carolyn Keene that featured two sisters, but I don’t remember the name. We had an small library at my grade school, but it was well stocked with mystery series.

    • Ah, someone else who read Cherry Ames! I had three of them, passed down from my mother, and they’re still on my shelf now. I read them over and over, but I think my favorite of the three I had was “Cherry Ames, Flight Nurse.” It took place during WWII and I loved any historical fiction that took place then (still do!). I wonder if I could find any more Cherry Ames books now? eBay possibly?

      • Marilyn says:

        The entire “Cherry Ames” series is on Vermont Country Store. You can try their website. I bought the first set a few years ago.

  25. Mairsydoats says:

    L’Engle’s Austen series (ok, all of L’Engle, but really, A Ring of Endless Light), and everything by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (The Changeling, The Headless Cupid, The Egypt Game). Really – gotta put a plug out there for Snyder – I love love love her books! And of course, Lucy Maud Montgomery (The Story Girl) and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

    And because this is what a colossal nerd I am – I have re-read ALL of L’Engle as an adult after I realized that all her books from ALL genres are interconnected. The teen protagonist from one is an old lady in another. I LOVE that!! I may or may not admit to mentally screaming at Suzy Davidson in the middle of reading A Severed Wasp “But where’s Vicky – what happened to your sister Vicky?” These are the pressing questions of my times…

    • Lisa T says:

      I don’t remember a thing about A Ring of Endless Light, but I do remember it as being one of the most beautiful and amazing books I’ve ever read.

  26. Angela Mills says:

    I love the Ramona books! One of my girls WAS Ramona 🙂 We would read the books and her sister and I would be smiling at each other the whole time. I still enjoy The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, too. And all of the Little House Books and Anne of Green Gables. I still read Little Women and it’s my daughter’s favorite book.

  27. Grace says:

    Such a good list! When I originally saw this category when I got the reading challenge, I knew I would read Where the Red Fern Grows. It was my favourite book for so many years growing up, and I would choose it for my book report book every grade in school. I think I’ve yet to meet another person who has even heard of it, so I’m so glad you included it today!

  28. Kim says:

    As a child I loved the Hollister family books, Boxcar Children, anything by Lucy Maud Montgomery or Louisa May Alcott. I would spend all my allowance and any other money I got on books, either used at the thrift store near our house or new via Scholastic books at school. Found a lot of used Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames, etc. Bought most of the Trixie Beldon series new. “Mrs. Mike” and “That Jones Girl” were a couple of favorites in high school. Joseph Lincoln wrote a number of books based in New England that I enjoyed, especially “Galusha the Magnificent”. Other favorite authors during high school included Emilie Loring, Janet Lambert and Rosamund du Jardin.

  29. Jenn says:

    Oh, my. We could have been reading buddies as kids – all of these books would have made my list! I’d add:

    Boxcar Children (though I don’t think I’d want to reread them now)
    Chronicles of Narnia
    Winnie the Pooh (the originals!)
    The Secret Garden

    Ah, childhood memories. I have so many good ones involving libraries and books.

  30. Nichole says:

    Sarah, Plain and Tall.
    I love reading children’s books to my kids. It’s a wonderful experience and as an adult, you pick up on so many things a child may miss or not appreciate. Unfortunately, I didnt read A LOT of classical books when I was younger; but I’m glad I have the opportunity to do so now with my kids. And an excellent children’s book is one that both adult and child can enjoy.

  31. Debbie says:

    I love practically all the books on your list, especially the Emily of New Moon series. Really, anything by LM Montgomery are my favorites. Also, the Ramona, Fudge series, Nancy Drew (the old school ones). Another huge favorite of mine that are really hard to find now are the Macdonald Hall series by Gordon Korman. He has written many other books since then, but these were the first that he wrote and they are uproariously funny. I remember my teacher reading them out loud to our class in elementary school and we laughed until we cried. Other great Korman books are I Want to Go Home! and the Bugs Potter books. Loved them…now haunting Amazon to see if I can find them for my own kids to read.

    • Mindy Bouma says:

      Gordon Korman!!! I loved those books. So many great memories reading those with my sister and laughing away. He wrote the first Macdonald Hall book when he was 13. Inspiring.
      The Yearling was the first book that made me cry
      I also loved The Great Brain series. Sibling dynamics were hilarious.
      All by L.M.M, especially The Blue Castle
      Brian Jacques Redwall series, especially great to read aloud.
      The Scarlet Pimpernel series by Baroness Orczy. Which I reread so many times.
      I can’t wait to read old favorites and new with my own little ones.

  32. Lulu64 says:

    There are so many books I vaguely remember and know that i loved as a kid, but I don’t quite remember the titles – I WISH I could reread! My mom would go to the used book store and just buy a big paper grocery bag full of books and we’d just tear through them.

    There was one about a girl and her best friend who were turning 13 and entering the 8th grade, I think in the mid/late 60’s because the main character obsessively listened to “Mr. Tambourine Man”. They went to the beach together for summer vacation and went on the boardwalk, the main character was good at art and wanted to work for Disney. The story was about them changing and growing up and a little apart and how difficult but maybe ok it was. I read it a million times as a kid and yet I can’t remember the name. Alas!

    • liz n. says:

      There are two books like that for me! I remember reading them in 4th or 5th grade. One was about two best friends, one of them named Cordelia, I think, who made up a poem about their schoolteacher, in which they made fun of her sausage roll hairstyle….And another was about a girl who had blonde hair and was envious of the Hispanic girl in her class who had long, straight, black hair. I remember loving these books so much, but I have no idea what the titles are or who wrote them. (Also, I wonder if I would like them as much now? But if I found them, I’d love to read them again.)

    • Dawn Reiss says:

      Lulu64, I think the one you’re talking about is called Thirteen by Candace Ransom. I just saw the cover on Goodreads, and it immediately transported me back to my middle school years. Apparently it’s a series, with one called Fourteen & Holding and Finally Fifteen. I know what I’m reading for this category in the challenge! Haha.

      I was all about those Scholastic books (the apples!) as a kid, and didn’t develop a taste for the really good stuff (like Montgomery’s Emily books) until high school/college.

      • Lulu64 says:

        Dawn Reiss, that’s it! Thank you, now my brain can rest at ease/I can try and track down a copy and relive my youth 🙂

        Oh, the apples! How I loved those. And now I’m going to be thinking about the Scholastic book orders all day, those lovely flimsy paper catalogs you’d get in class! I was so excited when I got to pick out my one book each time.

      • Jen says:

        Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I’ve been trying to figure this out for years. All I could remember was the obsession with “Mr. Tambourine Man.” This is it!!

  33. KC says:

    Maybe I missed it, but no one mentioned Harry Potter! The first one came out when I was in 5th grade, I still remember when my mom bought it for me at the book fair during parent teacher conferences, I was so thrilled! It was one of the few series I would receive (or later, purchase myself), as they were published.

    • liz n. says:

      HP will always be one of my favorite series, and I still read all seven books every year. But I was *mumble mumble mumble* years old when “The Sorcerer’s Stone” was published! They’re the books of my kids’ childhood.

    • Oh my goodness, I can’t believe I left those out. I read The Sorcerer’s Stone for the first time when I was eleven. When my brother was old enough to read them we’d have long discussions about them, and quiz each other on quotes from the books and the movies. He bought books five, six and seven himself from Scholastic Book Fairs and wouldn’t let me read them before he did first (although I’d sneak into his room and read them anyway!).

  34. Sammy Ann says:

    I’m so surprised no one has mentioned this book already, but I was obsessed with Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor. It was the first in the Logan Family series, although chronologically The Land tells the story of the first Logan. It was an incredible experience reading those books. The Number the Stars was also a favorite of mine along with A Little Princess.

  35. Dana says:

    A Little Princess and The Secret Garden By Frances H. Burnett
    All Of The Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder
    Betsy-Tacy Books ( Loved These. I may have to buy them again because they are always out at the library! That’s the sign of an enduring classic)
    Trixie Belden Mysteries
    All-Of-A Kind Family ( reread this one so many times)
    Five Little Peppers and How they Grew
    Any Beverly Cleary books. Loved Ramona but also the Henry and Ribsy ones too.
    Encyclopedia Brown
    The Old Nancy Drew series
    The Old Bobbsey Twins series
    Boxcar Children
    Blue Willow
    Pippi Longstocking I wanted to be Pippi
    The Borrowers ( I loved this series so much!)
    A Wrinlke in Time – reread last year
    The Hobbit- reread last year
    Chronicles of Narnia- I re-read these until my copies fell apart.
    Mr. Poppers Penguins
    Charlotte’s Web abd Trumpet of the Swan

  36. Sarah R says:

    This list brings back so many great memories! Did you have Battle of the Books as a kid? Our city’s school district did it. Each fourth and fifth grade was divided into teams of 4 kids and they were given a list of 50 books to read, then they did a trivia game based on the books. The top winners of each school faced off against other schools. Everyone really liked it. My son’s school is now doing Battle of the Books, and the list really hasn’t changed much since the classics still hold up!

    I was a big Babysitter’s Club fan too. I easily read the book in a day. I was so sad when I found out they were ghost-written. Even though the books were hardly high literature, they sure developed my love of reading.

  37. Ellen says:

    I love all the titles other ladies have mentioned. We also liked Goneaway Lake and Return to Goneaway Lake, as well as anything by Edward Eager. A favorite of mine as a child that I recently found on PBS was Jane-Emily by Patricia Clapp.

  38. Anna says:

    as a loved of Kid and YA Lit, run, don’t walk, to get Rain Reign. Beautiful book.

    I read Sarah, Plain and Tall for this. One of my favorite books. So short, yet so full of emotion.

    I was obsessed the Little House series growing up. As I got older, different books in the series resonated with me.

  39. I was a huge fan of the “Emily” series by L.M. Montgomery. Of L’Engle’s books, “A Ring of Endless Light” was probably my favorite–with “A Swiftly Tilting Planet” coming in a close second. For this challenge I might reread “Number the Stars.” Such a beautiful book.

    • Mandi says:

      If you liked Number the Stars, you should read Snow Treasure. It takes place during WWII in Norway. Great adventure story! I have taught both 4th and 5th grade and some of my other favorite children’s novels are The Witches by Roald Dahl, The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis, Call it Courage, The Tale of Despereaux, The Castle in the Attic, and probably many more I can’t even think of. I just finished reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret to my class and they loved it. It is a novel that is also told through beautiful black and white pictures. My students also all love the Percy Jackson series and the other series by Rick Riordin.

  40. E Clark says:

    I could weep seeing some of my childhood favorites here that I had forgotten about. I only read them once during a few brief years when I had access to an American school library in the country where I was living, so, many years later, I can only remember some and have forgotten many others. I still feel the excitement in my fingertips when I think of that library and the books I enjoyed. Thank you because now I can find these gems, read them again and pass them on to my children too.

  41. MelissaJoy says:

    Ramona and Pippi and James Herriot stories were several of my favorites as a child. The Sugar Creek Gang were my husband’s go-to books.

    Girl of the Limberlost is my favorite children’s book, post-childhood 🙂

  42. Maggie says:

    I have been checking out Nancy Drews lately. While my daughter roams around the library stacks, I pick one up right there. I had forgotten how much I love them!!

  43. Kelli Bullock says:

    I read the BFG by Roald Dahl to my daughters as part of this challenge and a challenge to read 12 books to my daughters this year.

  44. Katie629 says:

    A Bridge to Terabithia was the first book I ever read that made me cry…Such a beautiful story! In addition to my obsession with the Boxcar Children and Laura Ingalls Wilder, I loved The Giver, Jackaroo, Sign of the Beaver, Jacob Have I Loved, Diceys Song, Caddie Woodlawn…so many more!!! It’s so fun to think back on all these great adventures!!!

  45. Liesl says:

    Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. I read it as a kid and have read it at least once a year ever since! The audiobook is also really good!

  46. Jenny Woolf says:

    When I was 7 I was given Lewis Carrolls Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and I fell totally in love with them, to the point that now I am an adult and a writer I actually write about them. I also loved Ramona and Wrinkle in Time. As I am English, I was a big fan of Enid Blyton, specially Famous Five. I also loved a book called “Star in the hand” by E F Stucley, now I read it again it is a wonderfully written book about early 1900s Cornwall. It is about a poor boy who knew he would become a star and it is full of period detail.

  47. Melody says:

    The Boxcar Children (one of which I recently got to read aloud to a group of second-graders I was subbing!)
    Stonewords (by Pam Conrad – this book stayed with me for years)
    Madeleine L’Engle (and of course, I started with “Wrinkle” too)

  48. Olivia says:

    At primary school I loved “A Little Princess’ and reread it many times. I did not realize it was a classic though and never read The Secret Garden. I might have to make up for lost time and read it now.
    Other favourites include Kit Hunter show jumper series, The Black Stallion series, My Friend Flickr, Trixie Belden series, The Famous Five and Mrs Frisky and the Rats of Nimh.
    I didn’t read any of the Little House books, or Ramona books – I never came across them. I did try to read Alice In Wonderland as a child but hated it.

  49. Lisa T says:

    I agree with many of the books mentioned in this list and in the comments and I’ll add a few more that I didn’t see:

    Beauty by Robin McKinley — Even as a cynical young adult, I thought this novelized version of Beauty and the Beast was so romantic. Swoon!

    Charlotte Sometimes — To this day I cannot resist a time-travel novel.

    The Children of Green Knowe (and other books in the series) by LM Boston.

  50. Val says:

    A Wrinkle in Time introduced me to science fiction/fantasy at a time I needed that in my life. Amazing book.

    You are so right about Where the Red Fern Grows, tears every time!

  51. Oh man. You’ve hit on my favorite genre: juvenile fiction. I read (and loved) several of your favorites: Bridge to Terabithia, the Nancy Drew series, A Wrinkle in Time, and most–if not all–of Beverly Cleary’s books. I have so many other favorites, many of which are still on the shelf in my living room. Let’s see:

    All the “Anne” books, of course.
    The Boxcar Children series (my favorite was the second in the original series, “Surprise Island”).
    A Little Princess and The Secret Garden, both by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
    Number the Stars and The Giver, both by Lois Lowry
    Little Women and others by Louisa May Alcott (especially Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom)
    The View from Saturday and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (both by E. L. Konigsburg)
    Lily’s Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff
    All the Narnia books (THANK YOU, C.S. Lewis)
    All the American Girl books (up until 2001, anyway)
    All the Little House books (still love them)
    All the Dear America books

    And a lot of others. The library we went to when I was little had a blue ribbon sticker on all the Newberry Award winners, and I went through and picked all those before I read anything else, once I was old enough to understand that Newberry Award winners were among the best. 🙂 I don’t remember all the titles, but I don’t think I was ever disappointed!

  52. Tessa~ says:

    Naturally, I have bookmarked this post, for titles.

    Also wanted to very much thank you, for using “totally” in your subject line. I want to use it, all the time. But worry, that it isn’t “up to date”…

    Oh my, perhaps it is very, very, very out of date, and you used it, tongue in cheek. -pout-

    Anyway, I will continue to use it, when I simply can not help myself. -grin-


  53. Cora says:

    I love the Emily Starr books and Madeleine L’Engle’s time quintet, although I didn’t read either set until college. I’m planning on reading On the Banks of Plumb Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder for the reading challenge. I remember it being my favorite of the series, but I can’t remember why. I’m looking forward to re-discovering it.

    • LoriM says:

      I read Sue Barton, too. If memory serves, it was better written than Cherry Ames, tho I read her, too.

  54. Cara says:

    A few current read alouds that I am loving (and my kids are too) are: Homer Price, A Little Princess, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and The Family Under the Bridge.

    Personally, this is my favorite genre to read because I know it is “safe” and yet it covers real, hard topics to think and process.

    I just discovered your 2015 Challenge – I can’t wait to read through the plan and follow along.

  55. Anne says:

    I read Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret a whole lotta times.
    Babysitters – I even read a Super Special with characters I didn’t know sometime in the past year or two… ? (Other serials, too, like Sleepover Friends, Sweet Valley Twins and High)
    Little House
    Anne, over and over
    Nancy Drew
    Harriet the Spy

    I am forgetting something!

  56. LisaM says:

    What Katy Did was a favorite of mine that I read over and over growing up. And I love Nancy Drew as well- how the books take place in the 50s (I think?) and the mysteries she solves. I want to look into many others on your list!

  57. Karen says:

    The Black Stallion Series by Walter Farley
    ANY of Marguerite Henry’s Horse stories
    Jim Kjelgaard’s dog stories like Big Red
    There was a series of “We Were There” historical books that each volume was another famous person like Davy Crockett, Kit Carson, Geronimo, etc .. can’t find them anymore. Was a great way to become acquainted with many of our country’s heros and famous people.
    Will James’s “Smokey the Cowhorse”

  58. Bethany says:

    Misty of Chincoteague, Marguerite Henry

    Best ever. I’m ashamed that I’ve only read two of the books you mentioned above (and had Where the Red Fern Grows read to me, though we don’t talk about that, that book is way too sad for me!) Looks like I have a new list to work on!

  59. HollyB says:

    You should *definitely* read RAIN REIGN by Martin. It’s fantastic and so worth the read. Plus it won’t take you long 🙂 I was really surprised when I read she wrote the Babysitter’s Club series! Trust mr, RR is NOTHING like that 😉

  60. Lorraine says:

    Charlotte’s Web! And other books by EB White. I read it when I was 10 and loved it and sobbed through the end. I can’t believe my kindergartener’s teacher is reading it to her class, but I will be rereading it.

  61. Jo says:

    I am intrigued that I had only read one of the books on your list – Carolyn Keene. Maybe that’s a UK/US thing. I was a voracious reader!

    Some of my favourites were:
    Arthur Ransome – all the Swallows and Amazons series (STILL love them today)
    Chalet School – totally addicted and still collecting!
    Secret Seven / Famous Five / Five Find-Outers by Enid Blyton
    Anne of Green Gables
    Pippi Longstocking
    Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew
    C S Lewis – the Narnia Books
    Older stuff like the Bobbsey Twins and other really old fashioned books set in boarding schools of the 20’s! Strange taste for a child 🙂

    I’m sure there is more I can’t think of right now. Thanks for a trip down memory lane, and the introduction of some stuff I have never heard of.

  62. Gabriela says:

    The Prydain Chronicles. Best. Books. Ever. Lloyd Alexander wrote a number of other great books too. The coolest thing is that I wrote to him when I was a kid and he wrote back. Then, my daughter wrote to him when I read he books to her and he wrote back again!

    • Susan says:

      I loved reading the Prydain Chronicles to my kids! We still quote lines from the books, particularly Gurgi’s “crunchings and munchings”. And my “kids” are 32 and 29 years old!

  63. Jennifer says:

    My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
    Carry on, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
    Rifles for Waite by Harold Keith
    Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White

  64. Jen says:

    I loved The Indian In the Cupboard as a kid and recently enjoyed experiencing it again as I read it to my son.
    Loving this post as it brings back so many happy memories! A few I’d add are:
    Sweet Valley High
    The Girls of Canby Hall
    The Westing Game

  65. I love some of the books you mentioned. I’ll have to check some of the others I haven’t read. I would add Tuck Everlasting, and a bunch of others. I do re-read “kids'” books since we are homeschooling. 😉 Yup. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.

  66. Relyn says:

    I have loved reading all these comments. Here’s a few of mine:

    Strega Nona – Tomie DePaola
    Owl at Home – Arnold Lobel
    The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkein
    Half Magic – Edward Eager
    Stone Soup – Marcia Brown
    Katy No Pockets – H.A. Rey
    Madeline – Ludwig Belmans
    Curious George – H.A. Rey
    Robin Hood – Howard Pyle
    Stuart Little – E.B. White
    Bunnicula – James Howe
    Babar – Jean de Brunhoff
    Ferdinand – Munro Leaf

  67. Leslie L. says:

    So it’s December and I’m commenting on a post from last April, but I don’t care–I love children’s books. My inspiration to comment here is seeing that Jennifer wrote Rifles for Waite, by Harold Keith. I read that so many times when I was young and have an old, beat-up copy on my bookshelf now. I never knew anyone else who read that book.
    I’m an elementary school teacher and the best part of our day is after lunch when I read aloud from a chapter book. I usually choose older books, and never miss:
    The Boxcar Children
    Homer Price (we always have to eat donuts when I read the doughnut chapter)
    The Mouse and the Motorcycle and anything else by Beverly Cleary

  68. KG says:

    I’m always so afraid my childhood favorites won’t have the same kind of magic they did when I first read them. It’s always a catch-22 for me.

  69. julie S-H says:

    I loved:

    From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by Konigsburg.

    I re-read it as an adult when one of my kids was reading it and I thought it was still really fun. I LOVED it when I was a kid, it completely captured my imagination.

  70. Susan says:

    I know this blog was 3 years ago, but it came up today, tantalizingly, and I had to comment! Books we loved as children.
    Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. If you’ve never read it, you are missing out on one of the best, most satisfying YA books EVER!! My mother fell in love with it and with Vermont, as a poor, lonely child, and later, we children read it and loved it. I recommend it to everyone.
    I read nearly all the 146 comments already posted and finally saw my favorites listed, including The Narnian Chronicles, The Black Stallion series, the My Friend Flicka series, and Nancy Drew, Wrinkle in Time, The Princess Bride, charlie and the Choc. Factory, The Scarlet Pimpernel series, and Cherry Ames.
    I have to add that I did NOT like the usual childhood classics, such as Little House (too boring and slow), Anne of Green Gables, Wind in the Willows, Black Beauty, Heidi, Peter Pan, Mary Poppins, Old Yeller, Wizard of Oz, or the Hobbit. Just couldn’t get into them. My mother pushed, many were her favorites.

    • Susan says:

      Oops, forgot to recommend “Enchantress to the Stars” by Sylvia Louise Engdahl, and the rest of the series. I still own Enchantress. Also, John Christopher’s Sci Fi books. Loved Sci Fi!

  71. Joan says:

    The Bobbsey Twins,Nancy Drew,Beverly Gray,Judy Bolton,American Girl,Dear Diary,Dear America,Little House,Mandie,Betsy-Tacy,Anne Of Green Gables,Emily Of New Moon, Ballet Books,Elsie Dinsmore ,Millie(Author Martha Finley),Camp Fire Girls,Grandma’s Attic,Anne Henry,The Northwest Adventures.

    • Joan says:

      I forgot to include “Little Colonel” series, “The Four Little Blossoms”,Little Women,”Little Men”,”Jo’s Boys”,”365 Storybook”,”A Garland For Girls’,”Cousin Rose”,”Boxcar Kids”, ” Princess Parables” Series, “The RailwayChildren”,”Pinkalicious”,”Amelia Bedelia” ,”Three Young Pilgrims”.

  72. donna says:

    Love all your beautifully bound books. Are they sets?
    I just purchased another copy of The Secret Garden. Has always been one of my favorite books and have read it many times.

    Love your blogs and love reading them again and again!

  73. Marion says:

    The Honey Bunch series,The Bobbsey Twins,Nancy Drew,All Of A Kind Family,Mandie,Pollyanna Series,Five Little Peppers,The Martins,Margery series,Camp Fire Girls,Girl Scouts,American Girl series,Dear America,The Northwest Adventures,Secret Garden,Ramona,Ballet Series,Saddle Club, The Baby Sitters Club. Linda Craig,Ballet Shoes,Riding Academy, All the Marguerite Henry Horse Books and Beverly Gray.An Old Fashioned Girl,and Under The Lilacs.

    • Marion says:

      I can not believe I left out “Patricia of Silver Bush” series my favorite Lucy Maud Montgomery books. Also left out “Black Beauty”.

  74. Marilyn says:

    “Kate”: The Menonite Series,”little Princess’,”The Secret Garden”,”Honey Bunch” Series, Ramona,”The Moffits’,”All of a Kind Family”,The Bobbsey “Nancy Drew”,Hardy Boys”Twins”,”Little Women”,”Thoroughbred”Series,”Beverly Gray,”Anne Of Green Gables”,”Little House” series, All the Marguerite Henry” Series,”Mandie”,”Elsie Dinsmore”,”Dear America”,”Nancy Drew”,”Linda Craig” series,”Caitlin” series,”Saddle Club”,Babysitters Club”, “Magic Attic”,”Hitty”,”Raggedy Anne” and “Andy” ,”Drina”,Ballet Shoes and the others in the series, “Ballet School”,”A Child’s Garden of Verses”,”Madeline’,My “Golden Books”,”American Girls”,”Betsy Tacy”,”Nancy Drew’,Hardy Boys, “Ice Skating” and the “Swimming Series”, The “Tinkerbell” Series,”Sweet Valley High”,”Sarah,Plain and Tall”,”Strawberry Girl”,”Misunderstood Betsy”,”Beatrix Potter”,”The Hedge School”,”The Secret Of The Shamrock”, Many Books about Saints.

  75. Harriet Nanzetta Clark says:

    So many of the books mentioned bring back wonderful memories! I was very fortunate that my mother loved to read to us (me, 2 sisters, and 1 brother) especially in the evenings at the beach in the summer. She read us the original “Pinocchio,” “Myths and Enchantment Tales” (mythology with gorgeous illustrations. (I still have a copy of it.), Fairy tales by the Grimms brothers and Hans Christian Andersen, Dr. Seuss books. I loved a favorite of hers from her childhood: “Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch.” On my own I read and loved lots of horse books by Water Farley, Marguerite Henry and others, the Nancy Drew series, “The Secret Garden,” “The Yearling,” “Charlotte’s Web” (I always read that to my third graders. Yes, there were some tears when Charlotte died.), a series of books from the library about twins living during different times and in other cultures. As a teacher of kindergartners and third graders, mother of a son and daughter, and grandmother of two adorable granddaughters, I’ve gotten to do a lot of reading aloud–a favorite part of teaching, mothering and grandmothering! The joy of reading is without limits!

  76. Leslie says:

    I totally loved the Ramona books, all of Beverly Cleary’s books. Read all of them as a kid. I also read the Little House series by Laura Ingalls wilder as a kid, loved it, and recently purchased the paperback set from Amazon, so I could read it again. My set from childhood was thrown away after I moved out of my Mom’s house in my early 20’s. I think it was done because she was mad at me for leaving, honestly. Anyway, I have them again in my own house, and am very happy.

  77. Holly A says:

    i still remember in my fifth grade glass.. one group read Bridge to Teribithia and mine read Where the Red Fern Grows .
    My teacher, who was in her first year of teaching, said she cried during Bridge.. but she sobbed over Where the Red Fern Grows.
    Cool to see both of them make your list!

    Oh and I read Emily before I read Anne, and Ramona books were the first that sent me under the covers with a flashlight at night.

  78. Rebecca says:

    I personally loved the Nancy Drew series as well as the RL Stein Goosebumps series. I also enjoyed the BFG and The Secret Garden.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.