Top 10 Books from Childhood

This was the hardest “Top 10” to create (even harder than the Top 10 books of all time, that I’ll be doing tomorrow) because I have so many book-related memories from childhood (I could’ve done a Top 20!) so I’ve cheated a little 😛 which you’ll see as the list goes on.

There is a mix of books from different stages of my childhood – the first is my absolute fave from that time (and was my fave for a long time into teenage-hood and a bit of adulthood as well) the next three are books that were read to me at school and made a big impact and there’s the cheating ones of course 🙂

1. Watership Down by Richard Adams

Bunnies can be exciting!

I was given Watership Down as part of the “Most Improved” award in year 6 (as well as The Dictionary of Nature). My year 6 teacher, Mr Stein, was the best teacher I had in primary school (or ever really) and he told me that as soon as he knew I was getting the award, he wanted the prize to be Watership Down because he knew I’d love it, despite it being beyond my recommended reading level (I never let that stop me!). It took me a while to read it the first time, but I was enthralled for every moment. I have since read it 4 or 5 times at different points in my life, and it’s still one of my favourites.

2. The Giver by Lois Lowry

The gift of a story

The Giver was one of the novels that my year 7 teacher read to us in the morning before maths. She had a wonderful story-teller voice and always held our attention, and because of this the three books she read that year have remained with me as major literary memories. The Giver was the first novel to really affect me and make me think about life. Watership Down was very touching and made me cry in moments, but moments from The Giver stuck with me for hours, days or even weeks and made me really ponder humanity. I read it again a couple of years ago, and while it didn’t have as much impact as that initial reading, it was still one of those books that stops you in your tracks and you can’t put down.

3. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

All you need is a hatchet 🙂

In hindsight I know why our teacher chose to read us Hatchet – to teach us about survival and make us imagine what we would do in an extreme situation,  and make us thankful for what we have – but at the time we kids didn’t think too deeply into it, we just thought it was wicked! As soon as we finished it in class I went to the library to find the follow-up books: Hatchet : Winter, The Return, and Hatchet : the Call. I loved them all, but the original is still the best. I have read it a couple more times since and it’s always an exciting and riveting read, even though I know the end :P.

4. Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

I want a Shiloh!

Awwww Shiloh! This book started my love for beagles – I wanted a cute little beagle so much after our teacher read this, and I still love the breed (I often get told off at airports coz I want to pat the sniffer dogs :P). Another really touching and tear-jerking book – even worse if you see the movie! – and about a classic theme – the love between a boy and his dog.

5. Sly Old Lockjaw Croc by Marcia Vaughan

Wham bam. Pass the jam. Oh, what a hungry croc I am!

This is the first book I remember making any and every adult who happened to be in the area read over and over. It’s a Cocky’s Circle Little Book, which for anyone not in Australia is a series of books for young children that could often be found near the checkout in supermarkets (perfect for impulse buys fueled by whining and big wide eyes – after all what parent can say no to a book?). The story is very fairy-tale-big-bad-wolf-esque except from an Australia point of view. Basically Sly Old Lockjaw Croc is a crocodile with an insatiable hunger which he tells all his friends about…before he eats them. It’s ok though, like all good Big Bad Wolf stories in the end he’s forced to open up and all his mates come out unscathed :). Awesome.
Sorry bout the dodgy pic – it was the best one I could find O.o

6. Anything by Morris Gleitzman

King of hilarious titles

Ok, so this is where the cheating begins. Australian children’s novelist, Morris Gleitzman hasn’t written a book called ‘anything’, so really this is a fave author rather than book, but I couldn’t choose!!! I devoured Gleitzman’s books from about year 4 to year 7 and he was my undisputed favourite author for those years. If you’ve never heard of Morris Gleitzman (which is highly likely if you’re not from Australia, and quite probable even if you are) he wrote classic children’s humor novels like: The Other Facts of Life; Two Weeks with the Queen; Second Childhood; Misery Guts; Worry Warts; Blabber Mouth; Sticky Beak; Puppy Fat; Belly Flop; Water Wings and Gift of the Gab.

7. The Penny Pollard Series by Robin Klein

HANDS OFF!

Another cheat :P. I was introduced to the Penny Pollard books (which are: Penny Pollard’s Diary; Penny Pollard’s Letters; Penny Pollard in Print; Penny Pollard’s Passport; Penny Pollard’s Guide to Modern Manners and Penny Pollard’s Scrapbook) when I had read everything I was interested in from the school library and I asked the librarian what I should read. I was about 9 and the librarian knew me well so she gave me a Penny Pollard, but I’m not sure which one. I loved the diary style of the books and all the little sketches, photos and other bits and pieces that were “pasted” in making it look like the real diary of a little girl. They’re buckets of fun – I still own a couple :).

8. Piggy in the Middle by Catherine Jinks

This little piggy...

I think I read this in my first year of highschool, and It was the first book that could come close to bumping Watership Down from the top spot. It’s about animal cloning (of a pig to be exact) and was published not long after the cloning of Dolly the sheep, so it was a very topical and unsettling subject. I would like to read Piggy in the Middle again some time to see if it’s still good now I’m all grown up :).

9. The Babysitters Club series by Ann M. Martin

It's like a cult - once you're sucked in they have you...

Ok, so I’m not so proud of this one, but it had to be mentioned because like so many girls my age in the 90’s I was obsessed with the Babysitter’s Club. I was even a member of the Babysitter’s Club book-club so I got a new book every month (plus added books like the Babysitter’s Club Mysteries or a Super Special). Anne M. Martin wrote 131 books in the Babysitter’s Club series, plus 122 Babysitter’s Little Sister books, 15 Super Specials, 36 Mysteries, 4 Super Mysteries, 6 Portrait Collections, 3 Reader’s Requests and lots of companion books. Of course I didn’t read them all (because I grew out of them when I reached Highschool) but I did read a lot and I owned a whole bookshelf of them….everyone has a dark past :P.

10. The Wait-for-me Kitten by Patricia M. Scarry AND
The Curious Little Kitten Around the House by Linda Hayward

Wait for me!

Two kittens is better than one 🙂

I justify this cheat by the fact that they’re both Little Golden Books and are both about Kittens? Well it was worth a shot :P. My mum reminded me about these two, because I made her read them a gazillion times and once I could read by myself I probably read them a gazillion more.

So there you go – the second “Top 10”. Tomorrow I’ll conclude with *drumroll please!* my Top 10 books of all time!! Should be fun 🙂
Once again, If you think the “Top 10” list should be a regular thing let me know in the comments, because I definitely have more in me 🙂

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