Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Childhood Books I'll Keep Forever

This post contains affiliate links. I earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

My journey to becoming a bookworm was kind of unusual. I hated reading when I was a kid. I wasn't good at it. I thought books were boring. My parents weren't readers and also thought books were boring, so we didn't have many of them in the house. When bloggers write "childhood favorites" book lists, I always feel left out because I didn't have childhood favorites! Child-sized-me didn't read.

I didn't care about books until I was 11 and needed a book for silent reading time at school. I found an old Stephen King paperback in my parents' bedroom and decided to read that, even though I knew nothing about it. It was love at first page. I was obsessed. I devoured as much of the book as I could before my parents discovered I had it and took it away. Apparently, 11 is too young for Stephen King.

Even though I didn't get to finish the book, it transformed me into a bookworm. I became more open minded about other books and spent more time in the library. Between the ages of 11 and 14, I read everything. I was trying to figure out my reading tastes.

I started asking for books as Christmas and birthday gifts. My parents bought me a lot of books during my time in middle school. My book collection became my favorite possession. In the (many) years since middle school ended, a few of my childhood books have fallen apart from too many re-readings. Others went missing or were given away to make space for more books. Now I only have a few of my childhood books left.

So, let's talk about them! Here are the lucky survivors. I love them so much that they'll never be chucked into a donate box. They will stay with me until my heart explodes from eating too many nachos. RIP. πŸ§€

πŸ§’  Childhood Books I'll Keep Forever  πŸ‘Ά

Various Old Classics

When I was in middle school, I had 3 obsessions: Historical explorers (especially the polar variety), animals (especially the polar variety), and hockey (especially the ice variety). Winter was basically my entire personality. That's most likely how I ended up reading so many classics about explorers and animals. My parents weren't readers. They probably drove 1+ hours to the nearest bookstore* and grabbed any popular book with an animal or exploration device on the cover.

*Do you remember life before online book shopping? When I was 11-14, I lived in the middle of nowhere and only had internet access at school. Buying books online was not a thing that happened!

Around The World In 80 Days by Jules Verne

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

The Call Of The Wild by Jack London

White Fang by Jack London

Various Not-As-Old Classics

I did occasionally read books about animals and explorers that weren't published a zillion years ago. Behold! These beauties are from the 1930s-1970s.

Island Of The Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

Summer Of The Monkeys by Wilson Rawls

The Twenty-One Balloons by William PΓ¨ne du Bois

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

All The Gary Paulsen

I can tell you from experience that if a child walks into a bookstore and says she likes animals and explorers, she's going to come home with a bag full of Gary Paulsen. I still own a bunch of Gary Paulsen books from my childhood, but these were my favorites. They have a nice blend of adventure, humor, and beautiful nature writing.


Winterdance: The Fine Madness Of Running The Iditarod

My Life In Dog Years

Books That School Forced Upon Me

Middle school forced me to read books that were not set in the wilderness. How rude of them. I actually enjoyed these novels and wanted to reread them outside of class. (*Cough* Nerd *Cough*.) I suspect I enjoyed them because they're about characters who are outcasts in their societies. Middle-school-me was a drama queen who always felt soooo misunderstood.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Death & Assorted Angst

I have a vivid memory of angerly shoving The Boxcar Children into the library's book return slot. I was mad because the siblings in the book love each other too much. I didn't want books about love and cooperation! I wanted death and drama! I suspect that's why I enjoyed these.

Bridge To Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

When Zachary Beaver Came To Town by Kimberly Willis Holt

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

Holes by Louis Sachar

Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone by She Who Should Think Harder Before She Tweets

Thanks for putting up with my narcissistic mental trip to middle school!

Do you still own any of your childhood books?


  1. I don't have many of my childhood books left, but I do have my copy of Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson. I don't even remember where I got it from, but I loved it when I was younger. It made feel "seen" as a twin.

  2. I read a lot of Verne and London in Jr. High (this was pre-middle school era). After adopting my son at 12, I became fond of Gary Paulsen's writing as we'd read to him every night to help him get caught up in school

  3. I don't have any of my childhood books. I've moved about 30 times since I left home. I wish I had my Winnie the Pooh book from my childhood!

  4. I just read Walk Two Moons last year (?) I was a puddle. Very unexpected. I read Holes as an adult too. Amazing how all those generations were intertwined. I did read some of these as a kid/teen (Dolphins, Rings, Outsiders, and the old classics). I have one book from my Teens (Winnie the Pooh in Latin), all the others are gone.

  5. Unfortunately I don't and I'm very sad about that. Sure I could repurchase them, but it wouldn't be the same. I used to print my name in the front of every book, even if I didn't almost ever lend them out.

    You are younger than me so most of your choices were ones my children read (and I might have read with them). I loved Black Beauty and several other horse titles and then the young detectives: Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, the Hardy Boys, Encyclopedia Brown. I can't think of anymore titles off hand. There were piles of them from the Scholastic Book Fairs in my schools. I should have been mad at my mother for giving them all away, but she warned me when I moved out that if there was anything in the attic I wanted to take them with me... and young me, eager to take on the world didn't.

  6. I remember reading The Outsider in junior high and not long after that the movie came out. I think it was the first book-to-movie adaptation I'd seen and I was bowled over at the characters coming to life.

  7. My tween reading passion was dogs and horses, so Black Beauty was a big favorite of mine, too! 🐎

    I read The Giver, Holes, Stargirl, and Harry Potter as an adult and loved them all. ❤

    All of my tween and teen reading materials came from libraries, so I don't have any of those in my possession, except for a Walter Farley hardcover, from the Black Stallion series, that my rabbit chewed. My mother had to pay to replace the school's copy and I got to keep it. 😁 It's still kicking around in a box somewhere, I think.

  8. Not only do I have many of my childhood books, I also managed to steal many of my siblings. It always delights me when they notice... (National Velvet, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, The Terrible Two)

  9. Love this post idea, and I love your book choices. Most of those are on my bookshelves.

  10. The Giver will always be one of my favorites. It's just sooo good!

  11. Oh White Fang! For some reason I never read the book, but I was in love with the movie as a kid :) I unfortunately don't have many (or any) of my childhood favorites left, so maybe I should invest in some copies to keep now.

  12. I had saved a whole box of books from my childhood that got put in my parents' attic and at some point he randomly threw it away!! I was so mad! It was especially frustrating because he's always basically been a low-key hoarder (actually, nowadays there's nothing low-key about it), and it was like, "You decided to go up into the attic and throw away my one small box of stuff while keeping a whole houseful of your own?" Sigh. He was sorry.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  13. I am glad you found an enjoyment for reading, AJ. Maybe you weren't a young child--but 11 is still pretty young. :-) My daughter struggled for awhile with reading and didn't enjoy it much. Graphic novels changed that for her. She's branched out and enjoys other types of books too now. I don't think she'd be willing to try anything by King just yet though.

    I read The Outsiders in middle school as required reading and loved it. I have a copy of that and Island of the Blue Dolphins on my book shelf. I don't think my daughter will ever forgive me for reading Bridge of Terabithia to her. She doesn't like sad stories.

    This was a fun list, AJ! Thank you for sharing.

  14. Yes to all of these! I thought about parting with a few of them but then my son loved them so much that they all have even more sentimental value than they already did.

  15. This post is so cool! I should really think about which are my beloved child-hood books. Mostly by Dutch authors I think...
    I can't wait to read The Hobbit :)

  16. Dude when I was 14 the internet legit did not exist except for the mega rich hahah. My friend, whose parents were both eye doctors, had it- but she couldn't really DO anything with it because, well, no one else could afford it πŸ˜‚ I digress! So I was always a fan of reading, but then one year, for my birthday, my ex-aunt (I mean- she was married to my uncle and now she isn't so Idk what else to call her) bought me a Baby-Sitters Club book (BSC Mystery #1, Stacey and the Missing Ring, if you are curious) and I was HOOKED. Like I legit took that book with me everywhere and then needed to read ALL the others. And I feel you with the bookstore! We had one, like 30-40 mins away, a Waldenbooks of course, but it was tiny- just a small shop in the mall- and I am pretty sure I owned every book in it at one point- at least, every book in my age range! Anyway, I still have them all because I am basically a hoarder so that is my story. Your brand was winter, mine was refusing to give up old MG paperbacks, I guess.

  17. I went to the library a lot more when I was a kid than I do now, so I don't have nearly as many childhood books. But I do have some. Sadly, I don't have time to reread them very often any more.

    Glad you discovered the joys of reading in your own time.