Working in the Children’s Department, I am often reminded of books that I have long forgotten. Whether it’s a patron asking for a specific location of a book or a child in need of recommendations, some of my all-time favorites have begun to resurface right before my eyes. As a child I was rarely without a book. From swapping books on the bus home from school, to staying up late at night to finish the last chapter. Looking back, I realize that these books have shaped me. They have shaped what I read now, how I write my own fiction and who I am to this day.
The first on my list is The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss mixes rhyme with humor and quirkiness to give us this timeless classic. As a child I read this book so many times that I had the words memorized. Even as the book sits on a shelf in front of my desk, the words come back to me as if it hasn’t been twenty-odd years since I last read it. “I sat there with Sally, we sat there we two …”
As I got older my taste in children’s books took a mysterious turn. Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard became one of my all-time favorites. I’m sure we’ve all been in a misbehaving class. The children in room 207 are no exception. They throw spitballs and paper planes, and no matter what, these children will not settle down. When Miss Nelson doesn’t come to school the next day, the children are presented with a new teacher, Miss Viola Swamp. From the witch-like demeanor of Miss Swamp, acting up in class is the last thing these children want to do. Soon, they go on a hunt in search of Miss Nelson, but where could she be?
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar is still on the top of my list. Wayside School is thirty stories high, with the classrooms stacked one on top of the other. This isn’t the only strange thing about the school. The teachers are weird; Mrs. Gorf is the meanest of them all. And the children are stranger, take for instance, John, who can only read upside down.
When the last bell of the day chimed through my elementary school, going home to have a snack wasn’t what excited me. Knowing that my favorite show would be coming on at three o’clock on the dot didn’t excite me either. What did excite me was the bus ride home. See, a friend of mine and I would swap Goosebumps books. One book in particular still haunts me to this day. The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight by R.L. Stine sent chills up my spine, but I could not stop reading it. When Jodie and her brother Mark visit their grandparents’ farm all is normal until something strange appears in the cornfields. The one scarecrow that stood among the stalks has been replaced with 12, and these scarecrows are alive!
Adulting doesn’t mean that we have to forget our childhood favorites. Do you remember your favorite childhood books? Write them in the comments below then go and check them out from your local library!
Brittany is a Children’s Library Assistant at Main, where she enjoys reading stories, singing songs and ending her story times in a multitude of bubbles. Reading isn’t her only love; she also enjoys writing for children and adults alike.
*This post was originally featured on Eleventh Stack on August 30, 2016.