Two days ago I reviewed 30 of the books I have read this year. But I have read so many books, I thought you might like to hear some of my favorite books from three different arbitrary time periods of my life: 6-10, 11-16, and 17-22. Here is the first.
I was homeschooled until the 11th grade. One thing I loved about being homeschooled was the literary approach we took to learning certain subjects. The curriculum would provide lots of historical fiction, which we would use for spelling, vocabulary, history, and writing assignments. I couldn’t get enough of books. In this one, which we also listened to together as a book on tape, we learned about life in Michigan during the Great Depression. I can still hear some of the lines in my head, like “I’ll take the image of you driving away in my car just outside of Owasso, Michigan at two-thirty in the morning to my grave with me!” Even though life was tough for the orphan, Bud, he was determined and optimistic about finding a family.
Oh, how I loved this book series on tape. It is a silly story about how a boy saves a dragon from slavery and makes a friend. Elmer has to out-think tigers, boars, a rhino, a gorilla, monkeys, and crocodiles on the island of Tangerina.
Roald Dahl has always been my favorite kids’ books author (despite some gruesome descriptions of how some beasts/witches/Twits like to eat up little children). I have read nearly all of his children’s books. I especially love The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me, The Twits, Fantastic Mr. Fox, George’s Marvelous Medicine, and Danny: Champion of the World, though he is more famous for his Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach stories. His stories encourage kids to dream big and wonder. It challenges them to rethink what is beautiful and what success is. And of course Quentin Blake’s illustrations are just as wonky as the stories. Splendid.
This is a British book that my mother read out loud to the three of us kids once. Only once, but I never forgot the story of the proud teddy bear that kept getting passed off to someone else, gradually humbling him and opening him up to be loved in the end.
Oh, this was the best. Grover is told that there is a monster at the end of the book; he is terrified, and tries to keep the reader from finishing the book. He uses paper clips and bricks, pleading and begging, only to find that the monster at the end of it all is himself. And surely he does not need to fear himself! What a relief. I loved the drawings and how Grover looked like he was talking to me.
These two Treasure Tree books were written by a Christian who wanted a way to explain to kids about a common personality sorter. So four friends go adventuring together: a commanding lion (Choleric), a loyal golden retriever (Phlegmatic), a playful otter (Sanguine), and a precise-measuring beaver (Melancholy). Through the whimsical stories, kids can see how people are different from them (and that is a good thing!). They have different thought patterns and take different approaches; this diversity is a help, not a hindrance, from the group goals. Since I am a phlegmatic, my favorite part of the first book was when Honey the dog heard the small voice of someone needing help, and was able to save him through her attentive empathy. I taught me that even quiet people can do important things.
So those were a few of my favorites. I am pretty sure that if I am blessed with children, I will make sure we own all of these books.
What were some of your favorite books to read as a child?