Everyone has at least one of those books – the ones that you read as a child but still stick with you as an adult. Perhaps they hold a special meaning to you, or they bring back fond memories. Either way, when you see it sitting on the shelf, collecting dust, there’s an insatiable urge to pick it up and read it again.
For whatever reason this week, I was thinking about those books. I know, I know, I’m still not technically an adult, but I feel pretty safe in saying that I’m reading much different books now than I did when I was in elementary school. Even so, there are some books that still bring a smile to my face, even if I’m much older than the target demographic.
So this week, I’ve compiled a short list of books I read as a kid, and why they still stick with me today. Most of these fall into one of two categories: mystery or historical fiction. I ventured into other genres from time to time, but those are the ones I stuck to the most. Now without further ado, here are five books (or book series) from my childhood that still stick with me today!
1) Jigsaw Jones series by James Preller
I blame Jigsaw Jones for my detective aspirations as a kid. Well, him and Cam Jansen, but more on her in a moment.
To quickly summarize the series, Jigsaw Jones is a second-grade detective who solves mysteries for his friends for the price of one dollar. Sure, most of the cases may be somewhat silly (such as The Case of the Marshmallow Monster), but they’re fun to read.
My favorite part of the series was that each book featured some kind of secret code. In fact, I loved them so much that I copied each one down in my own “detective notebook” (which is unfortunately long gone). I always tried to write “secret messages” to my friends, but most of them weren’t interested. To this day however, I love codes in all forms, though I still don’t understand Pig Latin.
2) Cam Jansen series by David A. Adler
Cam Jansen is another mystery series about a child detective with an odd nickname. Cam has a photographic memory (hence the nickname), and uses it to solve mysteries with her friend, Eric.
I don’t quite remember all the details of these books, but I still love them. In fact, I think saying I simply read these books is a bit of an understatement – I devoured them. Every time we went to the library, I was excited to get more, even if I had already read them before. Each story was unique and interesting, and I always loved trying to see if I could solve the case before Cam did.
3) American Girl historical book series
I feel like these books are ones that almost every girl has read at some point in her life, but they were still some of my favorites. Even though many of the original books followed a pattern, they were still interesting, and the variety of characters and time periods made them all memorable. From Felicity Merriman during the Revolutionary War to Julie Albright in the 1970s, I enjoyed reading all of their different stories.
As a side note, I still reference some of the books when doing writing research for historical stories. Perhaps children’s fiction isn’t the best research source, but the books were always historically accurate and I remember impressions of certain time periods because of them. It definitely helps!
4) Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
It started when I was given an abridged version of the book as a gift, which I read over and over again. (Fun fact: When I first read it, I thought “Anne” was pronounced like “Annie” because of the “e” on the end of her name. It wasn’t until later that my mom corrected me, and I was quite embarrassed.) As I got older, I read the “real” book on my own and loved it even more.
5) Dear America series
I admit that I didn’t read these books until I was a little older (5th-6th grade-ish), but they were still some of my favorites. Like the American Girl series, these books also covered a variety of time periods and characters, although each book was written in the form of a diary/journal. Although the accounts were fictional, it was interesting to read each one and get to view history from the perspective of someone (roughly) my age. There was also a spin-off series titled The Royal Diaries, which focused on real royal figured throughout history, but as young adults. Both series left me with a lasting curiosity about history (mainly, the 20th century).
Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Secret School by AVI
2 thoughts on “Childhood Books”
So many! Some of the ones you mentioned, like American Girl and Dear America, are books I still read and own.
Two picture chapter books that I loved were Mr. Putter and Tabby (about an old man and his orange cat) and Henry and Mudge (about a boy and his mastiff). I also loved Clifford and any Jan Brett book (“Franz and the Beautiful Horses”, “The First Dog”, ‘ The Wild Christmas Reindeer”, etc.).
My favorite book when I was little was “The Story of Ferdinand”. It was about this bull who didn’t want to participate in the bullfights; he just wants to sit and smell the flowers!
There were too many others to mention, like Junie B. Jones and Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo.
One very notable book series was “Hank the Cowdog”. I found two of the books at a bookstore recently and excitedly got them. I love (notice present tense) that series.
Oh man, I used to always read Mr. Putter and Tabby and Henry and Mudge! They were such fun books when I was little.
I loved reading your list! It’s neat to see what books have stuck with others through time.