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TOP TEN CHILDHOOD FAVORITES
For me, this was the book. The one that started my lifelong obsession with reading. It is a simple story about a boy who ovecomes his fear of the dark and befriends the "nightmare" that lives in his closet. Apparently, this book was read to me almost daily in daycare. I became so obsessed with it that I actually memorized the story and went around my house quoting the book which resulted in some very confused parents. I still have my worn-out copy and read it once a year.
2. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Probably one of my all-time favorite books. It is for an older elementary, younger middle school audience and tells the often-neglected story of Denmark during World War II. Lowry's historical details drew me in completely and still enthrall me. I think this was one of the books that helped nurture my love of history.
3. Baby-sitter's Club by Ann M. Martin
Like many girls of my generation, I grew up with the girls of Stonybrook. These were some of my first chapter books and I read them until they fell apart. My personal favorites were the stories about Mary-Anne, Jessi, or Dawn. I read Martin's spinoff series, California Diaries, as well.
4. Kirsten: An American Girl by Janet Beeler Shaw
I loved all the American Girl books that were out when I was growing up, but Kirsten's story was my favorite. I don't know if it had to do with the blonde heroine or the Swedish background, but I devoured these books over and over again. Kirsten was even my first American Girl doll as well.
5. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
I did not go through a huge horse phase when I was growing up, but there was a time where I was obsessed with this book. There was something about the narrative that just sucked me in and made me feel for the horse. I tried to get into other horse books, but nothing ever matched the power of Black Beauty.
6. Berenstain Bears by Stan and Jan Berenstain
Some of my favorite pictures books! The family was pretty similar to mine, minus the bear part of course, and I could easily relate to all the situations Brother and Sister Bear found themselves in. I even went on to read the Berenstain Bears chapter books once I got tired of the picture books.
7. Sideways Stories of Wayside School by Louis Sachar
One of the funniest books I've ever read. I loved everything about this book and its sequels from Mrs. Gorf who turned students into apples to Mauricia flavored ice cream to Mrs. Jewel's hatred of dead rats. Just the perfect book for elementary students!
8. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
Another super funny book from elementary school that told the tale of the horrible Herdman kids and how they managed to completely change the Christmas Pageant in their hometown. I really liked how the Herdmans were depicted and how they showed the townspeople the true meaning of the Christmas spirit.
9. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
A classic that I read over and over again. I had a minor obsession with princesses around age seven so this book was perfect for me. I loved the whole imagination premise and the happy ending.
10. Ramona, The Pest by Beverly Cleary
A hilarious children's book that got me interested in Beverly Cleary's work. Ramona remains one of my favorite literary characters of all time and, for a long time, I wanted to name one of my dolls Chevrolet.