Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ten on the Tenth -- Favorite Children's Books

My favorite quote from the movie "You've Got Mail" is when Kathleen, the heroine, says this..."When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does."  Don't you love that?  If you were a reader as a child, I know that quote rings true with you.

So, in honor of summer reading season, here are the ten books that "became a part of my identity" as a child...

1.  "The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh" by A. A. Milne.  The illustrations, of course, are beautiful, but my favorite thing about the Winnie the Pooh stories was the way the author used the text on the page to illustrate the blustery days and the floody woods.  I absolutely love these stories. 

2.  "The Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum.  Of course, I loved the movie (Who didn't?), but the book was soooo much better!  There's so much in the book that didn't make it into the movie....the Quadlings, the china princess, the Hammerheads, etc.  I also loved "The Patchwork Girl of Oz."

3.  "Misty of Chincoteague" by Marguerite Henry.  I loved books about horses, and this one was my favorite.  Stunning illustrations and a simply beautiful story.  Other books by Henry are good as well, including "Stormy, Misty's Foal" and "Brighty of the Grand Canyon."

4.  "Anne of Green Gables" by L. M. Montgomery.  A beautifully written story about Ann with an "e", a spirited red-headed girl adopted by an elderly brother and sister who intended to adopt a boy to help out on their farm.  As a shy, introverted child myself, I was absolutely enthralled by Anne's adventures.

5.  "The Hiding Place" by Corrie ten Boom.  I guess this is not typically a children's book, but I read it as a child and loved it.  Being of Dutch heritage myself, I was fascinated by the insight into the Dutch culture of that period in the early part of the book, and inspired by Corrie and Betsy's unwavering faith in spite of great suffering in the latter part. 

6.  "Bambi" by Felix Salten.  Yes, there really is such a book, and it predates the Disney movie version by nearly twenty years.  And as is usually true, it is sooooo much better than the movie version.  I loved it so much that I read it multiple times.  (That's actually true of every book on this list, but I think I read this book more times than any other.)  I remember checking it out of my elementary school library in Wisconsin over and over.  And then a couple of years ago, I ran across it at our school library ... in a stack of books about to be discarded!  I snatched it up and am thrilled that it is now part of my own personal library. 

7.  The "Little House" books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  All of them.  I read them over and over.  I wanted to be Laura.  I also loved the TV series, but nothing could match the beauty and simplicity of the stories in these books. 

8.  "Black Beauty" by Anna Sewell.  I loved how this book was written from the perspective of the horse.  I remember being able to almost feel the bit in my mouth and the blinkers over my eyes as I read this one.

9.  "Charlotte's Web" by E. B. White.  What's not to love about Charlotte's Web?  Wilbur was truly some pig, Templeton was such a nasty beast, and Charlotte A. Cavitica was the perfect heroine.  And Fern...well, I wanted to be Fern, too.  After all, her pig's life is saved, and then she gets to ride on the ferris wheel with Henry Fussy.  What could be cooler than that?

10.  "The Lion, The Witch, & the Wardrobe" by C. S. Lewis.  I absolutely loved this book as a child, but I never could seem to get into the other books in the series ... until a couple of years ago, that is, when I read the entire series.  In fact, I believe I got far more out of the series as an adult than I would ever have gotten out of it as a child. 

How about you?  What are the books that became a part of you because you read them as a child?  I'd love to hear from you on this topic ... just leave a comment below.


Chris Brauns said...

I have the same copy of the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe! It's in about the same condition too.

The Hiding Place was also important to me. It may have been one of the first steps towards writing a book on forgiveness.

I read a lot of adventure books about Davey Crockett, Daniel Boone, Kit Carson, and Jim Bridger.

Chris said...

P.S. You might find the sermon I preached today in Indiana encouraging - - if you don't want to listen to the whole thing, then try the last 10 minutes. It relates to the 5th tree link I sent previously.

Judy moore said...

LOVED this post ! I never thought of childhood reading "becoming part of who you are", but obviously that's true! THAT should be at the front of every parent's mind, especially in this day .

My very favorite childhood book was Pollyanna. My copy is quite dilapidated, but holds great memories. My Mother and I read together every night when I was a little girl and I treasure that memory !

The Sullivan Four said...

Chris -- I truly believe The Hiding Place was instrumental in laying a faith foundation that prepared me for the trials I would face later in life. I didn't read a lot of adventure books as a child, but I certainly could have included Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and the Sugar Creek Gang books in my list! I also listened to the sermon this morning, and did find it very encouraging. I truly do love the 5th tree concept, and how it makes Heaven so much more real. I loved Alcorn's "Heaven" book, but enjoyed his "50 Days of Heaven" even more...a much more manageable read for someone in the depths of grief.

Judy -- I can just picture you in bed, looking just like Monica & Marla, listening to your mom read Pollyanna. Thanks for sharing the sweet memory!

Kecia said...

The Little House and Narnia books I have read until I almost have them memorized! I also loved Anne of Green Gables, and some of the sequels, and Winnie the Pooh. Did you ever read the Raggedy Ann and Andy books by Johnny Gruelle? Oooh, and The Little Princess and The Secret Garden. Oh, and all the doll books by Rumer Godden. You're making me very nostalgic today!

Unknown said...

I loved Little Women, Little Men, and Eight Cousins! Also loved a book called Bright Island by Mabel Robinson. And have never forgotten the book mom used to read to us: Robert Francis Weatherbee by Munroe Leaf. (He also wrote the children's story, Ferdinand the Bull which was banned by the Nazis, to my surprise) And yes, these books are all a part of me!. Meg Ryan :) was right...