THIS IS AN AMAZING PROMPT
The official prompt from the Goodreads group reads: This was recommended as a topic on twitter and I love it! Books that you wish your younger self would have read to learn a life lesson, get more self confidence, open your eyes to a new perspective, etc.
There are just SO MANY THINGS out there that are so rich and valuable and leave real impressions on the reader, and it warms our souls – individually and as the weird bookish unit that we are – that more and more books with all of those lessons and moments continue to be written for young readers. But gushing about it doesn’t actually answer the question, so let’s go!
- The first book that came to mind for me was City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab. If you read my August wrap-up, you’ll know exactly why! This definitely would have been a book that I would have read so often that my copy would be battered and bruised and well-loved.
- Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan was a required book for one of my Children’s Lit classes in grad school, and it’s another one I would have been obsessed with.
- I also wished I had read the His Dark Materials trilogy as a child. The themes of friendship are something I love and appreciate now, but I definitely could have benefited from exposure to Lyra, who refused to be what everyone expected, who was fiercely loyal, and whose story wasn’t completely happy, but ended just as it should have. (I’m giving this one my unofficial sixth place vote – hope you’re on board.)
- The Percy Jackson books would have been everything a young Paige would have ever wanted. I LOVE books involving mythology, and I have since I was very young.
- Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones would also have been right up my alley. I learned about it from Maggie Stiefvater on her tour for All the Crooked Saints last year when she said it was one of her favorite and most-reread childhood books. While staying with my in-laws for the holidays not long after, I saw a copy of it on one of their shelves and borrowed it. It is such a weird little book, and it would have been perfect for young Paige.
- The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau – I touched on this in the tag we posted Monday. This book came out when I was 13, so I was just slightly too old to have to read it for school, and I also probably would have thought I was above it if it was presented to me at the time. Well, I would have been wrong, and that’s okay. I love books that highlight intelligence and gumption in their young characters, and this one has it in spades.
- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – This one is actually a semi-downer, and I’m sorry. (MORE THAN A SEMI DOWNER) This one I wish I would have read as a child so that I would have been able to tolerate it. I love this story – I owned several versions of the movie, and I watched the Hallmark Channel edition so much, my mother actually grounded me from it at one point, because she was tired of watching it. But through all of that, I never read the book. I tried to a couple of years ago and HATED IT. Even loving the story and knowing how it ends, I found Mary and Colin both to be insufferable, and I couldn’t take it long enough to finish it. That’s right – I DNF’d The Secret Garden. You can smite me. I understand. I will keep my Burnett children’s classics reading to A Little Princess from now on.
- Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan – Not to be a copycat, but this book is magical. I wish 10 year old Kate had this book, so she could have experienced the wonder and symmetry of it. It’s so special to experience a story that has so much to teach and so much entertain value in the same package.
- The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznik – Aside from the illustrations, which are AMAZING, this book is just captivating. It almost reminds me of The Night Circus in terms of tone and style, and the layers to the beauty of it are what make it special. ESPECIALLY since it’s written for middle grade readers. Hugo faces so many obstacles, and he’s able to overcome them with the help of his wit and a few well-placed friends. That was favorite kind of story 20 years ago, and it’s still my favorite kind of story now.
- The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster – Another children’s classic I didn’t read as a child, but this time I have good news. I loved this one! (THANK GOD) I’ve only read it once, and I only read it because of Paige’s enduring love for it, but I’m so glad that I took the leap. It’s both fantastical and ordinary, and therein lies its power. One of my favorite Madeleine L’Engle quotes is, “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” I think The Phantom Tollbooth is an excellent example of that sentiment.
What are your childhood favorites? And what are some things you’ve discovered as an adult you wished you had as a child? We know there are multitudes of great answers, and we want to hear them all! Or at least as many as we possibly can.
As always, happy reading, Wednesdayers, and we’ll see you next week for some more Top 5 Wednesday!