October 31, 2012

31 Days of Awesome Kids' Books: Eight Books I Loved as a Kid

My 31 Days Wrap-Up

I hope you realize how difficult this series has been for me! I mean, don't get me wrong, it was also fantastically fun, but seriously - I feel so bad for all the books that didn't make my list.There are just too many good kids' books. 

It was especially hard for me to leave out books that I adored as a child. I covered some of them (like The Borrowers, The Castle in the Attic, and All-of-a-Kind Family). But, I also wanted to include new discoveries and library finds (like Homesick, Katie in the Kitchen, and The Iron Ring). Not to mention books that Eleanor loves (like Meeow, Farmyard Beat, and Little Blue Truck Leads the Way).

So, to wrap up the series, I'm going to feature brief snippets about eight great books I didn't get around to reviewing. And, if you missed any of the 31 Days posts, just click on the picture at the bottom of this post, and it'll take you to a list of all of them. Thanks so much for reading along this month, it's been a lot of fun!

What to expect next:

I'm excited that I'll finally get to write about some non-kid book stuff. Tomorrow I'll have a review (and giveaway!) of a fun fantasy novel called Ironskin. And then I think I'm going to take a few days off! With the move being imminent, I need a bit of time to catch up on packing.

But, I can't just leave the kids' books behind. This month reminded me how much I love kids' books - so I think that you can probably expect at least one kid book and one picture book review each month.

I also have been brainstorming some great bookwormy questions for you - so look for some fun posts soon! (Like: can you think of a movie that you liked better than the book?)

Without further ado: Eight Books I Loved as a Kid.

  1. Time Enough for Drums by Ann Rinaldi. I loooooved this book as a 5th Grader. I considered naming Eleanor Jemima (mostly because of this book), till Noel shot me down. It's a wonderful historical fiction, set during the Revolutionary War, that tells the story of fiery 17-year-old Patriot Jemima, and her Tory tutor, Mr. Reid. And you can't go wrong with Ann Rinaldi's other historical fiction - all the ones I've read were great.
  2. Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace. The beginning of the Betsy-Tacy series, this is a sweet story of two small girls in long-ago Wisconsin. Their friendship is cute, and the tales are timeless. The illustrations by Lois Lenski also make me think of other books I loved, like Strawberry Girl. 
  3. Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. Mara is a slave in ancient Egypt - until she's offered a way out of slavery by spying for Hatshepsut. Except, unfortunately for Mara, she's fallen in love with a man who supports a rival's claim to the throne... I adore all of McGraw's books, but I especially loved this one in middle school. I can't tell you how many times I've read it.* 
  4. Jack and Jill by Louisa May Alcott. Of course I also loved Little Women, but I was a big fan of this lesser-known book too. Jack and Jill are best friends, till Jill breaks her back in a sledding accident, and is forced to lay motionless in bed for a year. The story of how their friendship survives, and changes, is sweet. Like a lot of Alcott's work it's a bit schmaltzy, but still nice. 
  5. The Mystery of the Phantom by Eileen Hill. This is part of the Robin Kane series - starring spunky Robin, amateur detective, and her friends Mindy and Michael. They live in the San Francisco area - and I wanted to move to their ranch as a kid. They're a lot like Trixie Belden, or Nancy Drew, but I loved the imagery of the San Francisco setting. 
  6. Wait for Me, Watch for Me, Eula Bee by Patricia Beatty. Patricia Beatty writes amazing historical fiction, often set during the Civil War. But this one takes place in the American West. Lewallen and his little sister Eula Bee are captured by the Comanche, and raised as Natives. Lewallen escapes, and returns to Western culture, but dreams of rescuing Eula Bee - who may no longer wish to leave her captors. It's haunting - I still vividly remember it, even though it's been 15+ years since I read it. 
  7. The Children of Green Knowe by L.M. Boston. I was big fantasy reader in late elementary school - I loved the Dark is Rising Sequence and A Wrinkle in Time and the Prydain Chronicles and the Green Knowe series. For some reason the Green Knowe books don't seem to be as well known as those others - but they're really great time-travel/ghost fantasies centered around young Toseland, who has recently gone to live with his great-grandmother at Green Knowe, an ancient, haunted mansion. 
  8. The Good Master by Kate Seredy. My grandma's grandparents emigrated from Hungary, so I've always had a soft spot for books about it. Kate Seredy's excellent tales tell the story of city girl Kate, from Budapest, who goes to visit her cousin Jancsi in the Hungarian countryside. Their adventures are a lot of fun, and paint a vivid picture of rural Hungarian life.
What books did you love as a kid?

This post is day 31 of my 31 Days of Awesome Kids' Books.
This post contains Amazon affiliate links.


*Whoa! The exact edition I own is going for $26 for a used copy. Someone needs to reissue this book!