Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Childhood Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic is top ten books from my childhood that I would love to revisit. Fortunately, since I’m getting a master’s degree in children’s lit., I have been able to revisit a few of these.

My Childhood Favorites

1. The Golden Compass – Philip Pullman

Here lives an orphaned ward named Lyra Belacqua, whose carefree life among the scholars at Oxford's Jordan College is shattered by the arrival of two powerful visitors. First, her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, appears with evidence of mystery and danger in the far North, including photographs of a mysterious celestial phenomenon called Dust and the dim outline of a city suspended in the Aurora Borealis that he suspects is part of an alternate universe. He leaves Lyra in the care of Mrs. Coulter, an enigmatic scholar and explorer who offers to give Lyra the attention her uncle has long refused her. In this multilayered narrative, however, nothing is as it seems. Lyra sets out for the top of the world in search of her kidnapped playmate, Roger, bearing a rare truth-telling instrument, the compass of the title. All around her children are disappearing—victims of so-called "Gobblers"—and being used as subjects in terrible experiments that separate humans from their daemons, creatures that reflect each person's inner being. And somehow, both Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter are involved.

2. Hatchet – Gary Paulsen

Since it was first published in 1987, the story of thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson's survival following a plane crash has become a modern classic. Stranded in the desolate wilderness, Brian uses his instincts and his hatchet to stay alive for fifty-four harrowing days.

3. Bridge to Terabithia – Katherine Paterson

Jess Aarons' greatest ambition is to be the fastest runner in his grade. He's been practicing all summer and can't wait to see his classmates' faces when he beats them all. But on the first day of school, a new girl boldly crosses over to the boys' side and outruns everyone. 
That's not a very promising beginning for a friendship, but Jess and Leslie Burke become inseparable. Together they create Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen, and their imaginations set the only limits.

4. When Zachary Beaver Came to Town – Kimberly Willis Holt

Nothing ever happens in Toby’s small Texas town. Nothing much until this summer that’s full of big changes.

It’s tough for Toby when his mother leaves home to be a country singer. He takes it hard when his best friend Cal’s older brother goes off to fight in Vietnam. Now their sleepy town is about to get a jolt with the arrival of Zachary Beaver, billed as the fattest boy in the world. Toby is in for a summer unlike any other, a summer sure to change his life. 

5. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort. 
Written for J.R.R. Tolkien’s own children, The Hobbit met with instant critical acclaim when it was first published in 1937. Now recognized as a timeless classic, this introduction to the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, the wizard Gandalf, Gollum, and the spectacular world of Middle-earth recounts of the adventures of a reluctant hero, a powerful and dangerous ring, and the cruel dragon Smaug the Magnificent.

6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He's never worn a Cloak of Invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon. All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry's room is a tiny cupboard under the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in ten years. 
But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed. There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that's been waiting for him . . . if Harry can survive the encounter.

7. The Body of Christopher Creed – Carol Plum-Ucci

When Christopher Creed, the class freak and whipping boy, suddenly disappears without a trace, everyone speculates on what could have happened to him. Soon fingers begin pointing, and several lives are changed forever.

8. What Happened to Lani Garver – Carol Plum-Ucci

The close-knit residents of Hackett Island have never seen anyone quite like Lani Garver. Everything about this new kid is a mystery: Where does Lani come from? How old is Lani? And most disturbing of all, is Lani a boy or a girl? 
Claire McKenzie isn't up to tormenting Lani with the rest of the high school elite. Instead, she befriends the intriguing outcast. But within days of Lani's arrival, tragedy strikes and Claire must deal with shattered friendships and personal demons—and the possibility that angels may exist on Earth.

9. Walk Two Moons – Sharon Creech

"How about a story? Spin us a yarn." 
Instantly, Phoebe Winterbottom came to mind. "I could tell you an extensively strange story," I warned. 
"Oh, good!" Gram said. "Delicious!" 
And that is how I happened to tell them about Phoebe, her disappearing mother, and the lunatic. 
As Sal entertains her grandparents with Phoebe's outrageous story, her own story begins to unfold — the story of a thirteen-year-old girl whose only wish is to be reunited with her missing mother. 
In her own award-winning style, Sharon Creech intricately weaves together two tales, one funny, one bittersweet, to create a heartwarming, compelling, and utterly moving story of love, loss, and the complexity of human emotion.

10. Holes – Louis Sachar

This winner of the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award features Stanley Yelnats, a kid who is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnats. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys' detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the warden makes the boys "build character" by spending all day, every day, digging holes five feet wide and five feet deep. It doesn't take long for Stanley to realize there's more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake: the warden is looking for something. Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption.


  1. I have a very vague memory of Hatchet but I remember reading it! Thanks for reminding me :)

  2. This is a great list! The Golden Compass, Bridge to Terabithia, The Hobbit, Harry Potter, Holes...all books I've read in more recent years, but such great books. :)

    Jen @ EbonyInkReviews

  3. Great list! Hatchet brings back memories.. we studied that at school.

  4. I didn't read The Golden Compass until I was in college, but I totally loved it. And I'm so mad that I forgot to add Holes to my list. It was one of my favorites in 5th grade.

    I love Harry Potter! I have to reread the entire series soon. I still can't believe it's over :(

    Aly @ My Heart Hearts Books

  5. Holes was such a lovely book omg! Some of these books I haven't read yet but now I want to read them badly.

    Alex @ The Book's Buzz

  6. I just finished The Hobbit last year, so I was a little late to the game, but I loved it. Bridge to Terabithia made me cry. I thought it was awful at the time because of what happens in the story, but I realize now that it was - and still is - a wonderful book. I've never heard of a lot of the books on your list. I have no idea how I could've missed them...I guess I was too busy reading other books? Such is the life of a bookworm *sighs*

    Ardelia @ The Unplumbed Sea

  7. The Golden Compass and Harry Potter! I loved them both! Thanks for visiting my Top Ten!

  8. Hatchet is one of those I think I would appreciate more as an adult than I did as a child - I will have to revisit it!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  9. The Golden Compass is actually on my TBR list! I've never read it! I wasn't allowed to read it as a kid (I feel like I'm saying that a lot today...) kind of like Harry Potter. So many things I need to catch up on!

    Here are my Top Ten!

  10. Hatchet made my list as well. I loved this one so much as a kid.

    Doh! I forgot about Bridge to Terabithia. :/

  11. My son has Holes, and I want to read it along with him - it's one of those that was after my time. :-)

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  12. Ah, sadly, I think the only one I've read is Harry Potter, and it was definitely not as a kid ;) (I think my age is showing!) But this is a great list, I will have to check these out!
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

  13. Oh wow, I almost completely forgot about The Hatchet! We read that one back in grade 7 and I'm pretty sure I enjoyed it, but I can't really remember a whole lot about it. I'll have to see if my library has a copy of it next time I'm there and skim through it a bit so I can remember it.

  14. Great list! I love a few of these too but only read them as an adult so they didn't make my own list. :-)

  15. Oh my gosh, I can't believe I left off Hatchet and The Bridge to Terabithia! They both had a huge impact on me as a young reader. Also, I'm totally jealous that you're getting a masters in children's lit!