Thursday, June 18, 2015

Children's Books: Nostalgia Reads

It’s striking how long children’s books can last. One explanation may be the way in which they’re read. They become part of our emotional autobiographies, acquiring associations and memories, more like music than prose.
~SF Said, "Children's books are never just for children"

The same representations of childhood can be seen again and again in children’s classics, suggesting that we treasure the books that evoke that which the adult world lacks and we wish it contained. We cherish children’s classics precisely because they represent a world that does not resemble the world as we experience it.” - See more at: Sometimes it seems to us that all kids between 7-12 want to read Harry Potter, and the Magic Treehouse series, and Goosebumps, and not much else.  Parents are always asking librarians for reading recommendations for their kids. Sometimes it's challenging to come up with recommendations for children who don't like to read, or for the ones who are reading beyond their age range, and sometimes it's difficult to keep track of what the kids think is cool (painful to admit, but true). But we were kids once, right? Why not try recommending some of the favorite books from our youth?

The release of the Paddington movie has made us wax nostalgic for our childhood reads.  Here's a list of some of the juvenile fiction books to which we retain a sentimental affection - it's by no means comprehensive, because some of the books have gone out of print, we're sad to note. Some of them have fallen out of favor, because they are dated or because works from different eras reflect the feeling, views, and biases of that time - some of them are just not as comforting to re-read because of these views, or to suggest to our children for the same reason. But, we have tried to compile a list that reflects our nostalgia with some oldies-but-goodies and also recommends books that might be a bit off the beaten path - not the Beverly Cleary or Louisa May Alcott title you might expect, for example. Hope you find something on the list that reminds you of happy personal associations!

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery

The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye

Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott

Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald 

Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace

Ellen Tebbits by Beverly Cleary

Rumble Fish by S.E. Hinton [YA]

The Secret of the Mansion by Julie Campbell [Trixie Belden #1]

Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome 

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Singing Tree by Kate Seredy

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George

Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry

Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski

King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry

Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild [eAudioBook]

The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill

Lizard Music by Daniel Pinkwater

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor

Leo the Lioness by Constance C. Greene [eBook]

Miss Bianca in the Orient by Margery Sharp

Heidi by Johanna Spryi

Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney 

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

Miss Pickerell Goes Undersea by Ellen MacGregor

What are the books from your childhood that you remember most fondly?  Let us know in the comments!


67 Children's Books That Actually Changed Your Life [Buzzfeed]

100 Great Children's Books [NYPL]

Children's Literature [Project Gutenberg]

Popular Classic Children's Literature Books [Goodreads]

Children's literature an escape from the adult world [University of Cambridge]

23 Books You Need to Read Again as an Adult [Business Insider]

21 Books From Childhood You Forgot That You Loved [Bustle]

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