Whilst perusing my local bookstore during my lunch break (because obviously I wasn’t going to be doing anything else) I stumbled across a beautiful edition of one of my favourite childhood books. I was then browsing through old Top 5 Wednesday topics for something ‘tag’ related to blog about, and discovered that one of July’s prompts was ‘Top 5 childhood books’. Not one to let a good old coincidence pass me by, I decided this was a sign that I should talk about some of my favourite childhood books.
I read A LOT of books as a child (seriously, a lot), so this list is by no means exhaustive, and I’ve definitely forgotten a few favourites. But still, here are 5 of my favourite childhood books/series:
- Literally anything by Enid Blighton. I can only assume that my mum was to blame for my Enid Blighton obsession, but obsessed I truly was. I adored The Famous Five (confession: I used to force my little brother to pretend to be a member of the Famous Five – I was always Julian because he got to be in charge) and all of the Faraway Tree stories, but my absolute favourite of all time was the Children of Cherry Tree Farm series: The Children of Cherry Tree Farm, Children of Willow Farm, and More Adventures on Willow Farm (this one was my favourite). I honestly can’t count how many times I’ve read these books, and there’s still a part of me that wants to run away and own a farm and eat buttered bread by candlelight and hand raise goats and ride donkeys to school…
- The Fantastic Flying Journey, Gerald Durrell. As a child, animals were my favourite thing in the world. I used to lecture innocent bystanders about the various animals at the zoo whenever we visited (sorry mum and dad), and I loved anything to do with animals of all shapes and sizes. The idea of being whisked away on an adventure (IN A HOT AIR BALLOON) to go and talk to animals from all over the world was just too much for my tiny animal-loving brain to handle. Of all the books I read as a child, this is one of the ones that had the strongest, most lasting impact. It taught me so much about the natural world, including a few less than comfortable truths about what humans are capable of (the story the bison tells in the book of how his family were hunted to near extinction in the 1800s still upsets me all these years later).
- Apricots at Midnight, Adele Geras. I associate this story so strongly with my mum. I can remember reading the stories together every night, and even though I never had a patchwork quilt, I may as well have (a child’s imagination is a wonderful thing). This is really a collection of connected short stories, all based on a different hexagon of fabric from a patchwork quilt. It’s magical and whimsical and beautiful and still a book I read every now and then when I need a bit of a pick me up.
- The Silver Brumby, Elaine Mitchell. I can’t even express how much I love this book. My childhook copy is practically falling apart it’s been so thoroughly loved. I loved MANY horse books when I was younger, but The Silver Brumby was always the one I came back to. I actually reread it last year and found all the magic hadn’t left.
- Tamora Pierce. Yes, I’m aware that Tamora Pierce is an author, not a book. But all of her books had such an incredibly strong impact on me. Her books (particularly The Song of the Lioness quartet), were the first fantasy books I read, and I fell in love with the world. I can remember inventing my own worlds, languages, alphabets, and religions as a result of reading her books. The fact they all also have strong female protagonists without it being a big deal was really influential in shaping my literary idols as a young teen. I’ve sure I would have ended up writing regardless, but I do feel like it’s thanks in part to Tamora Pierce that I love reading and writing fantasy as much as I do. I think in a way for me Tamora Pierce is my J.K. Rowling – her books influenced me so much, and I reread them a lot.
Well, that quickly became a bit of an essay. I hope you enjoyed this rather rambling delve back into my childhood. Let me know what your favourite childhood books are, and whether or not you still reread them on occasion!