bookish posts

Top Ten Tuesday: Childhood Favorites

This is a post for Top Ten Tuesday, hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. You can find out more and follow along there!

This week is a freebie and I decided to go with an old topic: favorite books from childhood. It’ll be tough to narrow this down to TEN. Also, since childhood is a pretty broad period, I’m focusing on the books that I loved when I was reading independently but before my teen years, so say, 2nd-5th grades.

swallows and amazons carry on anne of green gables

Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace: Everyone in the Betsy-Tacy books is my favorite, but especially Betsy. I sometimes don’t realize how much I love them, until I start thinking about Everything Pudding, and eating dinners on the bench, and the chocolate colored house. The best thing is that the books grow up with you, and I love them just as much now as I did when I first read them.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: Alcott can be preachy–no, strike that, she IS preachy–but all the same, I loved her characters and stories. Little Women has this place mostly because it was first, but there’s also Eight Cousins, An Old Fashioned Girl, and even Jack & Jill. I haven’t read any of these in years; I suspect I would not like them now, but oh! I did.

Swallows & Amazons by Arthur Ransome: My first true fandom if by fandom you mean that I pretended to be Nancy Blackett as often as possible. And despite the fact that I’m more of a Titty. I don’t really have words for how much I love these books, even now.

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom: Corrie Ten Boom’s memoir of her family’s activities during WWII, and of her time in the Ravensbruck concentration camp, made an indelible impression on me. I loved Corrie herself, but I think I loved Betsie even more.

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham: Read about the same time as The Hiding Place, Carry On, Mr Bowditch cemented a fascination with the sea and sea-going stories. It turned me into the reader who would devour Hornblower in a few years.

Maminka’s Children by Elizabeth Orton Jones: This is a quiet little family story; it’s not great literature and it’s very difficult to find, but for some reason I adored it and still do. I think it’s the texture of the everyday details.

The Littlest House by Elizabeth Coatsworth: I grew up with Coatsworth, because she was a Maine author and my dad liked her. While I enjoyed the Sally books, I have a particular fondness for The Littlest House, despite not having read it in years.

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery: At one time, I was really close to owning everything LM Montgomery had ever published. I love many of her books, but Anne holds a special place in my heart: the old copy we had which I read so many times that the front cover fell off and was then taped back on upside-down. Reading Anne of the Island in our back yard and dripping popsicle juice all over it.

The Chestry Oak by Kate Seredy: I loved Seredy’s books, except maybe The Singing Tree because it was so sad and I was really too young to understand it. But The Chestry Oak, with its melodramatic plot and thrilling story, stirred me to the roots of my soul. Also, it made me cry a lot. (“Michael, my son”–and I’m almost crying now.)

All-of-a-Kind Family by Sidney Taylor: The All-of-a-Kind Family books are so delightful–I loved the sisters. Like Betsy-Tacy, I don’t realize how deeply they went in, until I remember the buttons and the crackers in bed, and how their religious experience seemed familiar, even though their religion is not mine.

The Melendy Quartet by Elizabeth Enright: And finally (I knew ten wasn’t going work), Elizabeth Enright’s Melendy quartet. As might be apparent, I have a thing for family stories, and I’ve always loved the Melendys. It’s hard to pick out a favorite book, although of course The Saturdays is first and brightest in memory. But they all have their own flavor and are beloved.

all of a kind family little women

By Maureen LaFerney

My name is Maureen. I currently work as a library assistant in a public library in the Indianapolis area, and also just so happen to be a voracious reader. I frequently end up under a cat.

12 replies on “Top Ten Tuesday: Childhood Favorites”

YAY! Although oh dear about Sara. I have mixed feelings about the way my parents limited what we were allowed to read, but I did end up reading so many wonderful books as a kid.

The only one of these I ever read was Little Women — which I loved.

Let’s see. Umm. Not exactly sure what’s in that age group. Charlotte’s Web, Black Beauty, Felix Salten’s Bambi, the Freddy the Pig books, all of Jim Kjelgaard’s books except I was not actually crazy about Big Red (I think Desert Dog might have been my favorite) . . . I was obviously very animal-focused at that time. That may be why I never touched Anne of Green Gable: no animals, count me out.

And I was very un-animal focused! I know I read Black Beauty and Bambi, but Charlotte’s Web was the only one I really loved when I was young.

Ahh, so many wonderful stories here. It always makes me gleeful to see others sharing a love for stories that hold a special place in my heart, especially ones that aren’t as well known universally. Betsy and Tacy (and Tib, naturally), Anne &co, the Melendy children, the All-of-a-Kind gang … and I’m right there with you on LMA’s books. Love ’em dearly, but not sure I could re-read them now and not spoil my pleasure in them (especially Jack & Jill). Alas!

I know what you mean! And yes, I do love Tib as well.

There are quite a few books that I have intentionally not re-read as an adult because I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t love them and that would be sad. Maybe if I have kids someday.

You know, I don’t know if I’ve read anything by Montgomery other than the Anne series. I bet I’m missing out on a lot, but Anne is so special, it’s hard to think of anything else coming close.

I actually love Emily Byrd Starr a lot, or did when I was a teen. There’s nothing to top your first reading of Anne, but I have enjoyed Montgomery’s other books.

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