Girl Talk Thursday: Favorite Childhood Books

I read constantly as a child.  It started with Bears, Boats, Balloons in preschool and escalated quickly from there.  I read at the dinner table.  I read in the bath tub.

I read in the swimming pool.  I read on the toilet. I read in the car until my head ached and in my bed until way past my bed time.

My reward for going to the dentist was always to stop by the used bookseller to pick up a new book. I loved books.

Here were some of my favorites:

The Critter Series Even though Critter’s mom is disturbingly modest, these books continue to speak to me.  I love that pissy little Critter.

The Bad News Ballet Series I only took ballet for like three months in Kindergarten, but I still loved this series.  Loved how it embraced some rag tag ballet outcasts.

The Little House Series I am still scared of what may or may not eat me in a forest as a result of these books.  Also, I want to eat a pig’s tail.  And sing Lazy Lousy Lizy Jane.

The Boxcar Children Series These are great for early readers.  I read them over and over and over.

Anne of Green Gables Series Oh I wanted red hair and a bosom friend so badly.

How to Eat Fried Worms Classic, awesome.

Walkabout That’s right, before Locke made it cool.

The Wheel on the School Enchanting, quiet, beautiful.  I adored this.

The Dragon King Trilogy I have strong memories around finishing this series while staying the night in my Grandpa’s trailer when I was little.  Also, the books were really good.  I think.

Island of the Blue Dolphins Can anything be more crushing than this book?  Seriously. (I had such a thing for survival-related novels.)

The Island Keeper I bought this in a used bookstore in Fairhaven, Massachusetts in the late 80’s.  Best. Book. Ever.

Julie of the Wolves This had some adult themes I didn’t understand the first time I read it.  But I loved it anyway.

Behind the Attic Wall Creepy!  Ghost story!  Orphan! Talking dolls!  Awesome!

The Fairy Rebel This book deals with infertility and fairies.  Very interesting and unusual.  I loved it.

The Indian in the Cupboard I think I read these 20 times.  No book movie has ever disappointed me as much as that movie did.

The Harper Hall Trilogy After reading an Anne McCaffrey short story in middle school, I devoured all of the Dragonriders of Pern books.  But these remained my favorites.

Inappropriate Grownup Books I Loved:

Lonesome Dove Call and Gus are my one true pairing. Five million points if you know what I mean.

The Mists of Avalon Awesome magic, awkward introduction to incest.

Phantom I had to buy this twice after the first copy fell in the pool.

Valley of the Horses Awesome survival stuff, awkward introduction to blowjobs.

I wish I still had all these.  What were your favorites?

Disclosure ahoy: Those are Amazon Affiliate links, so if you buy stuff I get like 15 cents.


  1. grace134 says:

    I was obsessed with all things Scott O'Dell for awhile, and Marion Zimmer Bradley? LOVE. I still reread The Firebrand, and it was like, my first intro to BOOKS WITH SEX. I read Clan of the Cavebear at a much-too-young age.
    And Victoria Holt! Did you read Victoria Holt?
    But I STILL haven't managed to read Anne of Green Gables. I thought she was an insipid bore.

  2. I also love the Little House series and the Anne of Green Gables books. Indian in the Cupboard was a good one too!

  3. grace134 says:

    Also? MY GRANDMA bought The Firebrand for my sister, when she was 12, and I was 9 and she read it and loved it and then I did too. My grandma was full of badassery and awesomeness, for reasons just like this.

  4. I, like you, found no greater joy in my childhood than reading. It helped me to escape. I read the Bobbsey Twins series, The Happy Hollisters, The Nancy Drew Mysteries. LOVED mysteries. Still do. My kids have read a lot of the ones that you loved. It is great how timeless these books can be.

  5. Um, yeah, so most of your favs were my favs. Menolly? My best friend. Anne? My best friend. And when I found Behind the Attic Wall at the used book sale last year, I squealed like a twelve-year-old. (You totally recommend used book sales for finding these books, because I completed my Earth Children–hardback VotH, baby–series there AND find childhood loves for cheap. Hi. I'm a little obsessed.)

    I'll add “The Hero and the Crown” and “The Blue Sword” by Robin McKinley (awkward heroines with swords rock), “The Secret Garden” and “A Little Princess” by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and “The Dark is Rising” series.

    For my inappropriate adult novels, how about “The Flame and the Flower” by Kathleen Woodweiss about a woman named Heather (“she has my naaaaaame!” ) who gets raped by an American sea captain, becomes pregnant, and falls in love with him over the course of a perilous sea voyage.

    (I also got that one at a used book sale a few weeks ago. I need help, clearly.)

  6. I loved Anne. I felt like we were kindred spirits, she and I.

  7. Island of the Blue Dolphins is the bestest kid book evar.

  8. Little House series. Several times. Too many times, really.

  9. issascrazyworld says:

    Behind the Attic Wall….oh how I loved that one. Do you remember one about Ghosts in a Garden? I can't remember the name, but I loved it.

  10. MommyGeek says:

    OH MY GOD. Island of the Blue Dolphins. I can't believe I forgot about that book. I am going to reread it. Hatchet was good, too.

  11. The Critter Series deserves a fist pump…..I loved “Just a Mess” as a child :). Thanks for reminding me of this series. It'd be perfect for my almost 4 year old.

  12. You just reminded me how much I loved Clan of the Cave Bear when I was in 6th grade. Ahhh, erotica for 12 year olds…

  13. I can't believe how many books I forgot! Behind the Attic Wall! The Bobbsey Twins! Gah!

  14. Also forgot to tell you how much I loved How to Eat Fried Worms. LOVED IT. /dork

  15. I actually loved almost that whole list!! I am a full on book whore too. Mists of Avalon is one of my all time favorites!! I loved all 3 books in that series. Read them as an adult though so I knew what incest was! 🙂

    Critter was my favorite as a child too!! I have recommended it to a couple of people this week! “Me and My Dad” was my favorite. I had it on tape and listened to it at bedtime, I still remember the song on the tape!!

    I loved anything Beverly Cleary. I learned a TON from her!! My son is a book nerd too. He's just like I was. I love it! I still read in the bathtub!

  16. I'm a little late to the party 🙂 But I've got to add:

    The Dollhouse Murders
    Nancy Drew
    Emily of New Moon series
    All things Mark Twain
    Babysitters Club Series
    All things Louis Sachar

    For inappropriate adult books, Judy Blume's “Wifey” and “The Siege of Dragonard Hill' were sooo shocking to my tender sensibilities. Then I found my older sister's Ann Rice collection. 🙂

  17. Oh jeez – and let's not forget the awesome badness of all the original VC Andrews series!

  18. Stephanie says:

    Oh, I loved (and LOVE) Anne of Green Gables – both the books and the movies!

  19. OH MY GOSH!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Why? I have been trying to remember the title of “The Island Keeper” for years! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that book!!!! You are so right: Best. Book. Ever.

  20. LOVE those McKinley books! 😀

  21. Started reading the Earth's Children books at 14. Sex & survival FTW. Heh. ;p

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