Top Ten Books I Wish I’d Read as a Kid

25 Jan

I don’t usually participate in a lot of memes here, but today’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, is really great and, even though there’s a lot of stuff in progress here, I couldn’t resist participating. We all know my not-so-secret love of children’s books. I even own 1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up but I’ve in no way scratched the surface of that massive list of books. I read a lot as a kid, and I read as a kid a lot now. But there are books I seem to have completely missed. I blame a couple things: 1) from the ages of 2 – 6, I lived in England, so I read pretty much every Roald Dahl I could get my hands on, but missed some very American literature; and 2) I started reading very early, and didn’t fully appreciate picture books until I was much older. With those in mind here’s my top ten books I wish I’d read as a kid:

  1. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery: It seems like this is one of those seminal girl books, a first novel for a lot of pre-teen girls. Somehow it passed me by, and while I’ve listened to a portion of it on audio, I can’t seem to muster the enthusiam to finish it.
  2. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingells Wilder: Again, one of those seminal girl books. I was reading The BFG and The Boxcar Children instead.
  3. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster: I owned a copy of this, but I wasn’t into things that were particularly fantastical unless I felt like they could really, truly happen (hence my love of Roald Dahl). I’m not even sure if The Phantom Tollbooth does or doesn’t make sense with this justification. But when I was 8, that’s the reason I didn’t read it.
  4. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh: I was not a very adventurous girl. That’s really the only excuse I’ve got. Plus, this is one of those American books that I missed entirely.
  5. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume: I’m actually kind of shocked I never read this. My parents were all about being open about growing up and adolescence and “changes” – and their way of introducing awkward topics was by handing me a book to read. But maybe by this point, I already knew everything, so I didn’t need the book. Too bad – it’s a great one.
  6. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg: I’ve still never read it. I’m not sure, again, how I missed it.
  7. The Giver by Lois Lowry: I read this one more recently, and I loved it. I think as a kid the cover made me think the book was boring. Had I known better, I think it would have been among my favorites.
  8. Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli: It was a boy book. Obviously, completely inaccurate, but that’s what I thought.
  9. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle: I have no excuse.
  10. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling: I include this in here, because even though I was 14 when this came out, I didn’t start reading them until I was 17, on my way to college, and I think I would have loved them even more when I’d been closer to the age that Hogwart’s began.

So there’s my list. I realized after I was done putting it together that even though I mentioned missing some picture books as a kid, I don’t regret having missed them. I did read A LOT of picture books, more than I originally thought, and then I worked as the manager of the children’s department in my local B&N and got all caught up. I love picture books, but I love them more now than I ever could have as a kid. I was too fast a reader to slow down and appreciate the pictures. Now, I pay attention.

Coming this week: my review of Patti Smith’s Just Kids, the kick-off of Oscar season, and a short post about The Morning News’ 2011 Tournament of Books. So much to look forward to!!

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12 Responses to “Top Ten Books I Wish I’d Read as a Kid”

  1. Brenna January 25, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

    The Giver was one of my favorite books as a kid. I want to say I read it in 4th or 5th grade after a friend told me she loved it. But you’re right, the cover makes it look a little blah. It doesn’t seem to be marketed to children.

    • Rachel January 27, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

      I love it now, but I have always been one of those “judge a book by its cover” kind of people, even in childhood.

  2. Enbrethiliel January 25, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    +JMJ+

    It’s interesting to see recurring titles as I go through the different lists. Little House on the Prairie is a popular choice–but I’ve also seen a couple of Boxcar Children, so at least you got one series done, aye? =)

    And I think it’s great that you’ve read all of Roald Dahl’s books for children! (The main reason we don’t read one book, I think, is that we’re reading another.) I’ve only read the more famous ones: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and The Witches. I wish I had started collecting his books when my mother was still buying them for me–but they’re so expensive now!

    • Rachel January 27, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

      If you find a copy of The BFG, I highly recommend it!

  3. Nora January 25, 2011 at 5:51 pm #

    Ah! Loved Anne of Green Gables. and Little house on the prairie. And anything by Judy Blume. I was a bit of a book addict as a kid. I had friends that I’d go to the library with and our sleepovers would consist of reading as many books as we could. I know, we were dorks. I guess maybe we still are dorks 🙂 I haven’t read #3,6 or 9 ever (one of them I’ve not even heard of!)

    • Rachel January 27, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

      Umm…I did that too :-\ Such nerds we are 🙂

  4. everybookandcranny January 25, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

    I just bought A Wrinkle in Time today and I just finished the book I’m reading so hopefully I can start it soon. I saw Mixed up Files as it was on a display of Newberry winners – I think it actually won twice -so I may have to add this to my list.

    • Rachel January 27, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

      Let me know what you think of Wrinkle! I’d like to read it too.

  5. bookzilla January 26, 2011 at 1:54 am #

    Oh my goodness, you HAVE to read From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler! I read it for the first time in middle school, and it’s still on my list of top 10 favorite books. How could you NOT love a story where two kids run away and live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art? Plus they solve a mystery that even the adults can’t. I know what you mean about Anne of Green Gables; I just read it for the first time recently, and I think a lot of the magic is gone. Maybe it’s one of those rare books that can be enjoyed most in childhood, and if you miss it then, best to leave it be.

    • Rachel January 27, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

      I know, I know!! I really want to read Mixed-Up Files. I bet I could get through a library copy in an afternoon 🙂

      Anne of Green Gables is a tough one. I was honestly bored through most of the first half – the magic isn’t the same.

  6. Alexis January 26, 2011 at 6:42 pm #

    I loved Anne of Green Gables, also watched the TV series. Haven’t read any of the others though, I spent a lot of time on The Babysitter’s Club 😉

    • Rachel January 27, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

      I also spent a lot of time on The Babysitter’s Club. A LOT. And Sweet Valley High. Love those books 🙂

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