Saturday, September 13, 2014
My Favorite Books from Childhood
If I hadn’t loved reading books as a kid, I doubt very much I’d be writing children’s books now. I always loved TV and movies and video games didn’t come along until my adolescence. But books provided the best vicarious adventures and escapes.
Happily, I found a wonderful wife who also loved to read as a child. She still loves to read. She still loves to read children’s’ books as a matter of facts. No surprise that our kids were readers and it was a joy to pass on to them childhood favorites (though not all were appreciated.
10) Treasure Island by Robert Lewis Stevenson – Reading this to my kids as an adult, I was surprised by how violent and bloodthirsty this book. No wonder I loved it.
9) The Adventures of Homer Fink by Sidney Offit – What? You haven’t heard of it? Color me shocked. This story of a kid growing up obsessed with Greek and Roman mythology freed me to pursue quirky interests.
8) Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss – I liked a lot of Seuss, but this was my favorite. As the fifth of five kids, I related to the power struggle to be the top turtle.
7) Swiss Family Robinson by Jonhann Wyss – Yes, I saw the movie first. And I was a little disappointed they didn’t fight pirates with coconut bombs. But it seemed so real, and I wanted an island of my own.
6) The Danny Dunn Series (such as Danny Dunn and the Anti-Gravity Paint) by Jay Williams and Raymond Abrashkin – This was kid level science fiction, all the gadgets Danny got a hold of were either real or presented with a scientific rational. I wanted my own laser.
5) How to Care for Your Monster by Norman Birdwell – Before he made his fortune with the Big Red Dog, Birdwell made his true classic, presenting the Universal Studios Monsters as pets.
4) The Encyclopedia Brown Series (starting with Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective) by Donald Sobol – I have stolen shamelessly from this series about a police chief’s son who solves crimes for my Bill the Warthog series of kid’s mystery books.
3) The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain – I came to love The Adventures of Huck later, but as I kid, I wanted to be Tom (and kiss Becky Thatcher.)
2) The Great Brain series (starting with The Great Brain) by John D. Fitzgerald – Stories about a little con artist. He always gets a bit of a comeuppance, but I enjoyed the parts before that happened. (The first five books of the series are great…Not so much for the rest.)
1) The Chronicles of Narnia (starting with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) by C. S. Lewis – As a kid I loved the adventure and loved the theology. I loved explaining who Aslan was to friends who hadn’t figured it out. Still books I reread more than any others.