I've mentioned before that I was a voracious reader as a child. I know many of you were too. So this post asks the question: what were your favourite books when you were a kid? You know, the ones that blew your socks off, the ones you read over and over, and the ones that had a real or lasting impact on your life?
Here's my list --
1. The Bobbsey Twins series of books by Laura Lee Hope (a pseudonym for a whole string of pulp writers). Anyone else remember these disgustingly wholesome little books? They've gone the way of the dodo bird now and quite rightly so. But I cut my teeth on reading them, so they have a special place in my heart despite their low quality.
2. British writer Enid Blyton's Adventure books -- The River of Adventure, The Castle of Adventure, etc. I believe there were 8 books in this series. I read them all at least 10 times.
3. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Our Grade 3 teacher read us this book in school. It was the first book I ever asked my parents to buy for me. I read it over and over until it fell apart. I never saw the movie until I was an adult.
4. Heidi by Johanna Spyri. Because of my Swiss heritage, it was a "must read" in my childhood. I liked the movie with Shirley Temple too, which I saw on TV.
5. The Little House on the Prairies series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The series is out of fashion now for its questionable views on indigenous people and its wholehearted promotion of the myth of benevolent Western settlement. But I loved these books back in the day and read them many times.
6. The Hardy Boys mysteries by Franklin W. Dixon (a pseudonym for another whole string of pulp writers). I read as many of these as I could get my hands on. I totally identified with the Hardy Boys and shunned the similar line of mysteries "for girls" about little miss prim-n-proper Nancy Drew. But as much as I despised Nancy Drew, I did like her tomboy girl chum, George. Of course, I figured out why much later on.
And as a Canadian kid, I adored the following Canadian children's books. In those days, it was so rare to read anything actually set in our own country --
7. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. I had this PEI book practically memorized and used to act out its scenes constantly with one of my first girlhood crushes. I was so smitten with my little tomboy friend that I even let her be Anne. I was content to be her Diana. (One of the first posts I ever wrote for this blog was about her).
8. The Secret World of Og by Pierre Berton, who was one of our most popular and distinguished writers of Canadian history and national affairs. It's the only children's book he ever wrote, a kind of Canadian riff on the Oz books, but set in Ontario.
9. Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat, another serious author later in life who started out by writing charming kids books. Owls was actually set in Saskatchewan -- Saskatchewan, for gawd's sake! A place I knew and had been to! Who could believe it?
Okay, your turn now! What were your favourite childhood books?