Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish that combines lists and books. This weeks topic is… Classic Books that Defined My Childhood. Books that have stayed with me since I read them in elementary or middle school!
1. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin – This book helped instill my love of mysteries and being clever. At a time when my health teacher was telling us that most of us girls were about to start pretending to be dumb in order to make boys like us, this book made being smart cool. I read it later as an adult and liked it just as much!
2. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg – Probably my favorite book that I was ever assigned in class. I related so much to the characters and it left me with a lifelong yearning for decadent adventures and secrets.
3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – I almost didn’t read these books because I thought they were “unChristian”. My teacher recognized that I was just being a young hipster and not actually religious. She made me take the book home one night and the rest is history. Harry Potter FOREVER.
4. Baby Island by Carol Ryrie Brink – I don’t know why, but I think about this book all the time. It was this kind of ridiculous, girly adventure book and I’ve really read nothing like it since. (It is exactly how it sounds–two girls have to survive on a desert island with a bunch of babies. Also, I would so much rather be stuck on a dessert island.)
5. A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L’Engle – I have a very vivid memory of my elementary school librarian book talking this one. I thought it looked scary and avoided it (probably the day I picked up Baby Island). I think it must have been another wonderful educator who forced this book on me. I loved it and quickly read the rest of the series.
6. Sweet Valley High series by Francine Pascal – I loved these in elementary school. I read the Sweet Valley Twins and the Sweet Valley High books and any other spin-off series I could get my hands on. What I most remember, however, is having my mom read one of these to me. (It might have actually been Sweet Valley University.) There was a scene where Jessica was in a hot tub and a guy undid her bikini top. My mom closed the book and I never found out how that story ended.
7. Fear Street by R.L. Stine – In elementary school everyone read Goosebumps. I liked them, too, but not as much as I loved Fear Street, especially the Cheerleaders trilogy. I eventually branched out to Agatha Christie, Lois Duncan, and a bunch of my mom’s crime thrillers, but Fear Street will always hold a special place in my heard.
8. Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keen – My mom had a ton of these from when she was young, so I started reading them as soon as I started novels. At first, my family would read them together. I still have a tape (somewhere) of my dad reading one of these books. We made him record an audibook for us when he had to travel for work!
9. Bunnicula by James Howe – I didn’t realize how much I’ve always loved science fiction, mysteries, and horror until I put this list together. Like R.L. Stine, Bunnicula is the perfect mix of hilarious and terrifying. I think I like the sequels even better!
10. Redwall by Brian Jacques – What was not to like with these books? There were violent wars, mysteries, adventure, and little mice acting it all out. I spent a few years reading these non-stop, as did my whole family. Now that I think about it, I should go ahead and get my nephew addicted to these.