Over the past few months, I’ve talked about the TV shows, movies, songs, and toys and games that defined my childhood. Today, I’m going to be talking about one of my favorite parts of childhood (well, and adulthood, to be honest) – the books! I’ve loved reading for as long as I can remember. My parents used to read to me before I could do it myself, then I moved to reading short books on my own, then I moved onto chapter books, which is when I felt like a real adult.
I think as an only child especially, books meant a lot to me growing up, and the characters in each book began to feel like friends. As an adult, I still get weirdly attached to the characters I read about, and there’s always a tinge of sadness in my heart when I reach the end of an excellent book. Enough rambling though – when I think of childhood books (we’re talking mostly elementary age and younger), here are the 10 that immediately come to my mind.
The Berenstain Bears Books
My mom used to read these to me, and I’m sure she loved them because each one had a lesson behind them. The one listed above was about the bears asking their parents (bear-ents?) for all kinds of things at the store. When I did the same thing, my mom used to like to remind me not to get “the gimmes”, haha.
Clue Jr Books
These were one of my first chapter book experiences, and I loved trying to figure out the mysteries in each one. These books were loosely based off the Clue Jr board game (which I loved so much that I would often play by myself), and I was just crazy about them. My parents even have a cute picture of me asleep in my bed, still holding one of these books. To this day, I still fall asleep like that more often than I care to admit.
I always felt like this was a really special book, so I used to treat it with extra care, gently turning each page, being careful not to tear any of the pop-up functions. It also always makes me think of my grandmother, but I’m not sure if it came from her or not. Regardless, this was one of my most cherished books, and I just loved the fact that it had a little ribbon to close it up.
This one hands-down reminds me of my dad, because he would read this to me and use different voices for the characters. I also thought it was funny that the seven kids in the book were named after the days of the week. I think I ordered this through my school’s book fair, and it forever cemented itself as one of my all-time favorites.
I Spy books
Remember these books? I loved scouring each page for the hidden objects, and I also really enjoyed how each object list was written in a clever rhyme. These books were kind of like an amped up version of Where’s Waldo (which I also loved), and I had quite the little collection.
The Jolly Christmas Postman
Oh, I just loved how this interactive book was full of letters. I thought it was so clever, and I could sit there, taking out each letter and reading every word carefully for hours at a time. I especially loved the Christmas version of this, because of course Christmas is amazing.
Magic Eye books
I felt like a total rock star once I figured out how to see the hidden images in the Magic Eye books. Once I had a good strategy down, I wanted to order pretty much all of them from every single book order. I do remember having a Space Jam one that was extra cool, and one of my favorites.
Miss Nelson is Missing
This book always made me want to be nice to my teachers! The basic premise is that a teacher is so fed up with her misbehaving class that she pretends to disappear, and comes back dressed up as a mean substitute to get the class in line. I blame this book for my years as a constant teacher’s pet.
P.S. Longer Letter Later
I’m not much of a “re-reader”, but I must have read this book at least once or twice a year between 4th and 8th grade. The spine is beyond creased, and if I tried, I bet I could remember some passages verbatim. This is also the first epistolary novel I read, and I was instantly hooked by the unique structure and quick pace of the book.
Forget The Cat in the Hat – this was my all-time favorite Dr. Seuss book. My mom would read it to me all the time, and I would sit there and point out everything “wacky” thing on each page. I’m sure it got old for my mom, but she was very patient with me, and I thought it was the funniest book of all time.
What are the books that defined your childhood? Are any of my books on your list?