Forgotten Childhood Favorites

We all have our childhood favorites, the books that ignited our love of reading and stick with us through adulthood and are treasured memories.  From Harry Potter to Narnia, there are books that remain in our consciousness for our whole lives, but what about our forgotten favorites?  What about the books we read until the spines fell apart?  How about the ones we circled in the Scholastic book catalogue and begged our parents to buy?  There are a bunch of books that I used to love but either haven’t thought about in years or forgot about completely.

Here are a few of my old favorites:

 

Redwall by Brian Jacques

These books were absolutely everywhere when I was a kid.  I think I only read two, but my older sister has read a bunch of them so they were always on our shelves.  The first book was published in 1986 and the series ended up being 22 books long.  It takes place at Redwall Abbey and features a cast of mice, badgers, rats, etc.

Redwall actually factors into my only bad experience with a librarian.  I was in the third grade (about 8 years old) and pulled Redwall off the shelf at my elementary school library.  The librarian told me I was too young to read it and refused to let me borrow it!  I eventually managed to talk her into lending me the book, and I read it cover to cover out of spite.  Ha.

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The Bailey School Kids by Marcia T. Jones and Debbie Dadey

These were a big feature of my early reading days.  Set in the Bailey School, the kids are absolutely convinced that their teachers are supernatural beings (looking back, I kind of feel sorry for the teachers).  Featuring excellent titles like Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots and Pirates Don’t Wear Pink Sunglasses, there were about 80 of these books published between the original series and its spin-offs. I must have read at least ten of them, I had no idea there were so many.

 

The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander

One of the best fantasy series for kids!  I loved Lloyd Alexander anyway because of the amazing book Time Cat (about a time-travelling cat, of course) when I was introduced to The Chronicles of Prydain.  The series follows the adventures of Taran, one of the ultimate Farmboys of Destiny, and features a cast of characters like Princess Eilonwy, the unofficial bard Fflewddur Fflam, and an ocular pig named Hen Wen.  I’ve read the entire series at least once, but read the first one, The Book of Three, so many times that the spine probably wore out.

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This was the edition I owned as a kid!

If any of this is sounding familiar, Disney’s first PG-rated animated film was based on the first two books in the series.  If you haven’t seen The Black Cauldron, drop everything right now and watch it.  It’s some scary stuff.

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Pretty sure the Horned King made me cry in daycare

Gwinna by Barbara BergerGwinna

This was an early factor in my lifelong obsession with beautiful books.  My grandmother gave this book to either myself or my sister as a gift, and I absolutely loved it.  It’s about a couple who desperately want a child, but have not had one.  The Mother of Owls offers to help them, but only if they send the child back to her on its 12th birthday to learn all kinds of magical goodness.  Gwinna has wings – wings! – and plenty of animal friends.  I desperately wanted to be her when I was a kid.

Gwinna-in-flight

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Me in about 60 years

The Magic School Bus by Joanna Cole

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Beep beep!

Any kid who loved Bill Nye the Science Guy also loved The Magic School Bus.  These were a series of picture books that followed a class of students and their fabulous teacher Ms Frizzle on a series of ludicrous and incredible field trips on board her magic school bus, of course.  They visit volcanoes, go inside the human body, and so much more.  There’s also an equally amazing TV series, which is apparently available on YouTube.

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Literally any kid in the world would trade places with you, Arnold.  Stop complaining.

I kind of still want to be Ms. Frizzle when I grow up.  She has a sentient school bus that can turn into a spaceship, a pet iguana named Liz, and has a fabulous sense of style.

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Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar

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As an adult, I’m kind of on Mrs. Gorf’s side

You might recognize the author’s name as the person who wrote Holes, another incredible book.  But it all started with Sideways Stories from Wayside School.  Wayside School was supposed to be 30 classrooms built on one floor, but the builder accidentally built a school 30 stories high, with one classroom on each floor (he’s very sorry about this).  The books follow Mrs. Jewls’ class, which is on the 30th floor. She replaced Mrs. Gorf, a teacher who would turn bad children into apples.  She hated children, but loved apples.  I think you can probably get a sense of how ridiculous these books were.

There were sadly only three of these books, but I also got my hands on the artithmatic spin-offs.  They made absolutely no sense, but I didn’t mind.

 

Animorphs by K. A. Applegate

It was impossible to be cool and not read Animorphs when I was a kid.  Jake, Marco, Cassie, Rachel, and Tobias stumble upon a dying alien who gifts them the power to morph into any animal they touch.  Earth is being invaded by Yeerks, which are BRAIN SLUGS, and the Animorphs must fight them.  I’m pretty sure they were telepathic too.

There were 54 of these books, which is kind of incredible.  There was also a TV show that ran for two seasons on Nickelodeon, which I remember very little of.  These books were the best.  I had a silent competition with the annoying kid next to me in the fourth grade to see who had more Animorphs books.  We’d quietly pile them on the corner of our desks and eye each other’s stack.  I can’t remember who won, but I hope it was me.

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Not an actual Animorphs cover

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark written by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Stephen Gammell.

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Who let us read these?  They, along with sticker collecting and Pogs, were all the rage when I was in the first grade.  Why?  Why did I read these?  I can still remember some of the stories so clearly.  There were three of these books: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones.  The best/worst part of these books were the amazing illustrations, which are completely horrifying.  We would gather around and read them out loud to each other while pretending we were actually going to sleep that night.

HarperCollins rereleased these books in 2011 to celebrate the 30th anniversary, but chose to go with new and less frightening illustrations.  This backfired pretty dramatically because anyone who has read these books know the illustrations are the best part.

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Ahhh!
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Nooo!
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Harold still haunts my dreams

Goosebumps by R. L. Stine

I’m sure that anyone who was a kid at any point in the last 30 years knows about Goosebumps.  We all loved them.  Even I, who is scared of absolutely everything, was obsessed with these books.  Because most of us couldn’t quite read them on our own when they were super popular, my Kindergarten teacher would let us bring in copies of Goosebumps books and she’s read a few chapters a day to us out loud.  How cool is that?

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I brought in this one to class, but it scared me so I sat in the corner and tried to not listen.

There are 62 books in the Goosebumps series and a bunch of spin-offs.  They featured kids getting caught up in haunted situations or stuck with creepy dolls and such.

 

 

There are so many more, but I had to trim down my list because it was getting a little long.  Have you read any of these?  What are some of your favorite books from your childhood?

9 thoughts on “Forgotten Childhood Favorites

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  1. I LOVED Sideways Stories from Wayside School! And Scary Stories to tell in the Dark! The cover artist for the Prydain book looks very similar to the cover artist for the 90s versions of many books, including L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time that I owned.
    With Goosebumps, I only read Say Cheese and Die and then moved on to Fear Street, but there wasn’t a lot offered to us as kids, were there? Now there’s so much YA that it’s crazy!! I wish I had grown up during this golden age of YA!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now that I think about it, you’re so right about the similarities between the Prydain books and my old edition of A Wrinkle in Time (it had a pink border and was awesome).

      I completely agree about wishing I grew up with all the YA available now. I read a few things that sort of qualified when I was younger and they weren’t great. It really made me not want to read anything YA. I’ve only recently started reading YA fantasy (thank you, Rebel of the Sands) and am loving it!

      Like

  2. Omg! So much nostalgia. I love this post! 😀
    I remember several of these fondly. Heck, I’m pretty sure I still have a couple Redwall books and the first Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark book floating around somewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think my sister must have had at least 10 of the Redwall books. I don’t really know why I only read a couple, I really liked them!

      I loved and hated those scary story books. They were so cool, but I’m scared of absolutely everything. I don’t know how I survived that craze 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved Goosebumps growing up… my whole family did, lol. While other families were reading picture books together we read goosebumps and our mom read us her adult sci-fi fantasy books, lol. Such a great list and a really good idea…

    Liked by 1 person

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