22 November 2008

What Were Your Favorite Books as a Kid?

Growing up in rainy Washington state meant I read a lot. I mean - A LOT. I remember reading over 150 books in one summer.

I think the Sweet Valley Twins books were an early favorite. Then I moved on to Sweet Valley High, and the Newbery Medal winners. From there it was on to Narnia, and The Black Cauldron series. I tried to get into Tolkien but burned out halfway through The Two Towers (dude, I'm not that much of a nerd).

Then I got into my apocalyptic / dystopia phase and delved into
  • On the Beach
  • 1984
  • We
  • Brave New World
  • Animal Farm
    . . . and tons of Arthur C Clarke

Then I moved on to lesbian classics such as:
  • Herland
  • The Well of Loneliness
  • Oranges are Not the Only Fruit
  • Love in Bloomsbury
    . . . and tons of Virgina Woolf

Why do I bring this up?

I signed up to donate children's books to a non-profit that shelters woman and children escaping physical abuse. Of all the donation options, books seemed to be the best option. The alternatives were:

Girls make-up kit, girls crafting kit, boys crafting kit (WTF?), boys army toys.

I know jack shit about those items, but books I can do. Then it occurred to me: the books I enjoyed are probably not appropriate for an OC kid.

So now I'm in a pickle. Should I just buy a complete set of Harry Potter and be done with it? I'd like to pick something beyond the obvious: something that will strike a chord with a young person. Any suggestions?


Anonymous said...

Maybe the His Dark Materials books? I dunno, maybe those are too intense...?

Annie J. said...

Maybe as a tribute to your PNW roots you should get some of the Ramona books or others by Beverly Cleary? Or maybe some Judy Bloom books?

Unknown said...

Roald Dahl, all the way. I was obsessed with Matilda as a child. I think I read it about 20 times.

BookBuster said...

Oh, the Roald Dahl books are great. Also C.S. Lewis books "Stuart Little" and "The Trumpeter Swan" for young readers.

Or get the "Twilight" series for the tweeners. I haven't read them but Angela raves...

Dinah said...

Some great suggestions here. I also recommend the Bunnicula series for young readers, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Charlotte's Web, the Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, the Phantom Tollbooth, Shel Silverstein's poetry books (Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic).... Yeah, kids books are my favorite books. Growing up I read all of the above plus anything Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, CS Lewis & Roald Dahl. I also liked the Babysitter's Club series, and all that tween smut: Sweet Valley High & anything by Christopher Pike. I would have gone APE SHIT for Harry Potter & Twilight as a kid, are you kidding me?

mr. bread said...

From about age eight to eighteen, the books I re-read more than anything else are the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Those are still the most pivotal books from my childhood, being the-thing-that-made-me-want-to-be-a-writer.

Anonymous said...

Well Kyle's favorite books were Tin Tin, but we bought the series and now realize they are absolutely rascist.

So, I agree with the Beverly Cleary in honor of your PNW roots. And for the hipper kids, I agree with the Twilight series, which I know nothing about but people have been raving about the books.

And, if you are looking at baby/toddler/Kid books then we like Sandra Boynton or Goodnight Moon or Where the Wild Thinks are. Mom got us this great book titled "Do Princesses Wear Hiking Books."

Oh, and the Chronicles of Narnia are always good.

smartwick said...

These are all great suggestions! I'd also recommend anything by Daniel Pinkwater (he's written great stuff for all ages, from my all-time-favorite picture book, The Big Orange Splot, to middle-reader stuff like The Hoboken Chicken Emergency and The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death. They're Jewish and surreal, which might be just the escapism an OC kid needs. I also love Madeleine L'Engle's Wrinkle in Time series. Did I ever tell you I used to manage the children's section of a bookstore? :)

Anonymous said...

What? No Choose Your Own Adventure books? I've had it with this group...

- The M.A.D. Hapa said...

Thanks for all the great suggestions! I ended up going with: Matilda, Hitchhiker's Guide and A Wrinkle In Time. It was a really tough decision though. Mouse and the Motorcycle and Bunnicula, and Where the Sidewalk Ends were favorites of mine.