Friday, April 17, 2009

I Still Love These Books!

Reading to my children is particularly fun when the book is one I enjoyed as a child. For instance, I read Robert C. O’Brien’s The Silver Crown to my son. I’ve loved this book ever since my sixth-grade teacher read it to our class. In the book, ten-year-old Ellen gets a mysterious silver crown and her life turns upside down. Her house gets blown up. Bad guys are chasing her. She wants desperately to get to safety at her Aunt Sarah’s house in Kentucky. Instead, she ends up at a creepy castle/school hidden in the woods where a magical machine created centuries ago is at work carrying out an evil plan of world domination. The machine’s minions will stop at nothing to get their hands on Ellen’s silver crown, an artifact even more powerful than the machine. Yep, Ellen’s in a pickle. It’s a gripping story, and it was fun watching my son’s interest and excitement as the story unfolded.

At the library, I was in the children’s section with my kids, and on the shelf I saw the book Jane-Emily by Patricia Clapp. I was thrilled. “I love this book!” I exclaimed, thrusting it upon my daughter. She probably thought I was nuts to get so excited about a book, but I haven’t seen this book in years and didn’t realize the library stocked it. Here’s the story: eighteen-year-old Louisa Amory goes with her nine-year-old orphaned niece, Jane, to live with Jane’s grandmother for the summer. Creepy things start to happen, and it becomes apparent that the spirit of Emily, the long-dead twelve-year-old daughter of Jane’s grandmother, is determined to wreak her selfish, evil will on the living—and she’s especially interested in Jane.

I loved these books as a kid and still love them. In fact, many of my favorite books are children’s or YA books. Here are a few more favorites of mine:

The Westing Game
, by Ellen Raskin. Rich old businessman Samuel W. Westing has died—was he murdered?—and his fortune will go to whichever of his colorful cast of heirs can unravel the clues and solve the Westing Game.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond, by Elizabeth George Spear. Sixteen-year-old Kit Tyler leaves her home in Barbados and settles in Puritan-era Connecticut. Struggling to adjust to her strange new home, Kit makes misstep after misstep. Eventually her compassion for a lonely old woman leads to her being accused of witchcraft.

A Swiftly Tilting Planet, by Madeleine L’Engle. This is the third book in the series that started with A Wrinkle in Time. I loved Wrinkle, but the third book is my favorite. Boy genius Charles Wallace joins forces with unicorn Gaudior to save the world from a madman. He travels through time in his quest to bring about the change that will save the world.

Secret Agents Four, by Donald J. Sobol. This is one of the funniest books I have ever read, the kind of book where not only is the plot fun and intriguing, but every line is a delight. Written by the creator of Encyclopedia Brown, Secret Agents Four is the tale of spy wannabe Ken Mullins and his friends, Orv, Bo, and Horseshoes. Ken’s father works for government agency Mongoose, so Ken and company create their own teenage secret spy group--VACUUM (Volunteer Agents Crusading Unsteadily Under Mongoose). Their goal: to battle the evil forces of Cobra and thwart their plot to wreak havoc on Miami.

What books did you love in childhood that you still love now?


Jennie said...

My list could get awfully long and just as yours reveals why you write sci-fi/fantasy/suspense mine shows why I write historicals, westerns, and mysteries. I read the usual Nancy Drew, Trixie Beldon, and Hardy Boys, but my big favorites were Tiger Tiger, Cowgirl Kate, Where the Red Fern Grows, The Black Stallion, The Yearling, Five Little Peppers, Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, and Silas Marner. I know Silas Marner isn't usually considered a child's book, but I was nine when I read it and I absolutely loved it.

Gale Sears said...

Fun blog, Stephanie! Brought back so many memories of sitting in my special hiding place reading book after book. My favorites were Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Secret Garden, Mr. Poppers Penguins, Penrod and Sam, Strawberry Girl, The Middle Moffett, any of the Danny Dunn books, Mysterious Island, and....the list could go on and on.

Kelsi Rose said...

Um, where do I start? I love The Giver, The Westing Game (I just finished rereading it), Buffalo Gal, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and if you want to get really young, The Bernstein Bears, Dr Seuss, The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses, The Frog Princess. I love reading.

Anna Buttimore said...

I recently read "The Farthest Away Mountain" by Lynne Reid Banks to my daughter. She was utterly spellbound, just as I had been in 1976 when it was first published. I can't wait for my other children to get a bit older so that I can read it to them too.

Nice post, Stephanie!