Monday 21 March 2011

My Childhood Reading.

I wasn't always an avid reader as a child. I used to read in fits and starts. I don't recall my parents reading books at all, but they always seemed to buy me plentyof them.  I think I developed my reading habits from watching my brother who was and still is an avid reader.  I have fond memories of him, sat constantly with a book, oblivious to any conversations occuring around him. I have to laugh as I recall his bedroom full of carefully balanced book piles; walking around his room was like a game of Jenga, one false move and  a pile would topple. 

His love of books helped to create my love of books and now I want my children to feel the same. I want them to experience the way stories make me feel. The excitement at an unknown tale that has thrilled others.  The friendship and love you feel towards the characters by the end of the book.  The contentment at a happy ending. Ahh, there is nothing like a book to transport you to another time, another place or even another world. 

Lately I have being spending a lot more time attempting to guide my children's reading.They have been intrigued by the books that I used to read, which has resulted in a nostalgic journey back in time. So for today's post I wanted to share with you five books that played a huge part of my childhood which I hope to encourage my children to read.

1) Dear Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster

I must have read this book a dozen times whilst growing up, but I never actually owned my own copy until last year when my husband bought it for me.  It is an epistolary novel and follows the story of Jerusha Abbot, an orphaned girl who is given a new life by a mysterious benefactor. In return for paying for her education, she is entitled to write to him once a month.  She has no idea who he is or even what his name is and refers only to him as Daddy Long Legs.

I recently reread this book and found it still appealed to my inner child.  I love Jerusha's enthusiasm for life and her passion for equality.  The story still charms me after all these years and will be one that I will continue to reread through out my life.

2) The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge.

If you have never read this book, I fear as an adult it may be too late. This book was so enchanting to me as a child, that I often dreamed of living at Moonacre.  The magic that resonated off every page, filled my dreamworld during a time of unhappiness within my family due to bereavement.  However, when I returned to it as an adult, something had been lost and I found it no longer seemed as believable as it had then.  I almost wished I had left it as a memory rather than returning to read it. Though this does not marr my childhood love for it.

I recently watched the new film attached to the book called 'The Secrets of Moonacre' and was unhappy to find that it had been changed so drastically. I wish they had filmed it the same way it was written.

3) Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

As far as I was concerned, I was Anne! I was very similar in nature to her and she was my idol whilst growing up.  I even had the long red hair, that caused everyone to call me names like 'Carrots'.  For anyone who does not know, Anne of Green Gables follows the story of Anne, an orphan, who goes to live with an elderly brother and sister and changes their lives for ever.

Anne is clumsy and struggles with her looks, yet she is loving and full of passion for life.  Her love of literature is infectious and you find yourself loving her instantly.
I can highly recommend the Canadian TV adaptation of Anne Of Green Gables,which was filmed in 1985 and starred the delightful Megan Follows. To this date, it is still one of my most watched films.

4) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

When I try to determine why I love this book so much, it always comes back to one point. That Jo, one of the sisters wanted to be a writer. I loved her need and passion to write. Within the book, I relished the part where the four sisters created their own newspaper. It led me to create my own too, which I distributed weekly amongst my family members. I can still see their eyes rolling as they had to read them week in, week out. 

5) Harriet The Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
This was a book that my whole class read together when I first started secondary school. I didn't really enjoy my first year in that school and English lessons became my saving grace.  I loved it when we all sat and read passages from the book together.
Harriet spied upon her neighbours and kept notes on them, just like a reporter. I found it appealed to my inner writer who had developed early into part of my personality. I could see myself in Harriet's personality.

These were not the only five books that held a special place in my heart as I child, but they are probably the most important and the most loved ones.
What books did you love as a child?


  1. I used to love The Worst Witch books and Horrible Histories.

    and oddly Poetry books because they were shorter reads but fun to read. Michael Rosen was a big fav and his 'Chocolate Cake' poem!

  2. Oh how lovely to try to encourage your children to read the same books as you did. My Mum did the same with me. So many books from my childhood resonate - Noel Streatfield, the Anastasia Krupnik books...can't wait to see everyone's comments on this post.

  3. Little Women was and is still one of my favourites! I must have read it about 10 times and I still don't get bored!

  4. Pippi Longstocking, The Magic Faraway Tree, The Lion, The Witch and Wardrobe stand out in my mind.


  5. Showing my age I loved Enid Blyton The Famous Five. Then Nancy Drew I went through a real phase lol.
    I have always read and try to get my girlies to read loads :D
    Fab post

  6. I envy you having grown up with Daddy-Long-Legs! I loved it when I read it last year, but I can only imagine how special it would have been for me if I'd had it around when I was growing up.

  7. Harriet the Spy was one of my favorites! There was a period of time when I was around 10 that I read it once a month. Great post.

  8. Oh, I love/loved all these! Adored Daddy Long legs. (There's a film of it with Fred Astaire, I believe - never seen it, but am a big Astaire fan anyway, so maybe...!)

    Lucy Boston, anyone - the Green Knowe books?

  9. My parents were not readers either, but I loved books and had plenty as a child. and am happy to have developed that love.

    I had all the little Golden Books, and then the Nancy Drews.

  10. My favorites were always Amelia Bedelia. I was introduced to those stories as a small girl. I remember vividly my teacher reading the story aloud to the class. I couldn't get to the school library fast enough to check out those books. These days I relive Amelia's zany antics by reading her stories to my daughter.

    Great post, Viv!

  11. I think one of the joys of having a child the same sex as you is sharing books with them. My son's a reader, but his taste is totally different from mine.

  12. Thanks for recommending some new books - apart from Anne of Green Gables (not one of my favourites I have to say)and Little Women (loved it)I have not read the others.

    Having a new baby in the family I'm looking forward to rediscovering some really old favourites, especially The Hungry Caterpillar.

  13. I used to love anything by Jean Ure - I used to borrow all her books over and over and over again from the library. Then there was The Faraway Tree, loved that, another called Catwitch which I still have a copy of - Enid Blytons book called Tales Of Long Ago is what originally sparked my love of Greek & Roman mythology and from that point just watched any films, read any books that had mythology in them.

    The Iron Wolf by Richard Adams remains my favourite book of all time. Then there was any type of folklore, anything. Loved the Brothers Grimm and loved storys about sea folklore especially Selkie tales... oh so many. Books were my escape when I was a kid, school was not the happiest of times.

  14. It was this Swedish series about an orphan girl who got taken in as a more or less servant in a big family. I think someone was an alcoholic too. But then later the Lord of the Manor realized she was his missing grandchild, awesome series

  15. I was pretty fickle with my book choices even back then. I read my first vampire books when I was about 8 they were about proper vegetarian vampires one who ate soap this was the Vlad the Drac series and the other drank cola. This was gruesome and bloodsocks. I still have these books. I then went on to read Dracula, Christopher Pike books. Some Sweet Valley High Books when I was in my teen years and those books that you got to choose the path it followed.

  16. Vivienne, this is a terrific list. I must admit that I never read the Harriet the Spy series, and opted instead for Encyclopedia Brown, a series I loved.

    Other childhood favorites include: Little Bear, Winnie the Pooh, Little Women, and as I got older, biographies of extraordinary people. My kids chose their own favorites, which included: Goosebumps and the Berenstain Bears.

  17. Anne of Green Gables and Little Women are two of my most favorite books. I read them as a young girl and my love for them continued into adulthood. I also loved Little House on the Prairie and Nancy Drew growing up.

  18. Great list! You know I have come to adore Anne of Green Gables, though I never read them as a child, I plan to introduce my kids to them because they are incredible.

    I was addicted to The Babysitters Club growing up, but also loved Secret Garden and The Mixed Up Files of mrs. basil e. frankweiler

  19. Oh, I read all the times as a kid. Boxcar Children and anything by JUdy Blume.

    great post.

    I woke up Sunday a.m. to find my blog, my 500 plus followers, my 100plus author interviews, and my 200 plus reviews gone. Blogger gave no explanation, but I think the account was hacked. Change your password often!

    I have reloaded the interviews and reviews, plus redesigned the blog. But if you could, please hit the "follow" button so I can reclaim the fellow bloggers I miss. I'm still following you, as my account remained--thank goodness!

    Thank you!
    Kelly Moran

  20. I loved the Anne books too, and I consider the first two movies to be the perfect comfort viewing. As far as other books that I read as a kid, I was really into Madeleine L'Engle, Doctor Dolittle, Beverly Cleary, The Babysitters Club books, and then in the fifth grade I read a book by Robert Silverberg that spurred a lifelong love of sci-fi books.

  21. Great list Viv! And so nice that you pass these special reads onto your girls.
    Jo is my favorite sister in Little Women too.
    I used to like reading Goosebumps when I was little.
    My daughter loves the Junie B. Jones books.

  22. What a great post. Totally loved Harriet the Spy and the Trixie Belden series. I'm not surprised I love mysteries now :)

  23. Awww, what a great list. I remember when that Harriet the Spy film came out.

    I wish I'd read classics as a child. It wasn't until I was in uni that I discovered how much I loved them.

    Reads from my childhood include anything by Roald Dahl, Judy Blume and Goosebumps. I also used to read the Little Sister books and the Animal Ark series. :D Loved them.

  24. Oh I adore posts like these! I love re-exploring childhood favourites. I've been toying with a reading timeline lately but I keep making changes to it, chronicling my different reading phases growing up. So look out for it, I shall be sharing it soon! :)


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