The five non-comicbook books of my childhood. What are yours? (16:15)
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Another great episode. You reminded me of a number of books that were important to me that I had forgotten about – particularly Clifford. Early in elementary school, on library day (our library happened to be in a supply closet), I would seek out the Clifford books to read. BUT, he doesn’t make my list. Here are my five (with the lower 4 in no particular order):
5. Clutch Hitter (from the Chip Hilton series) by Clair Bee – a fairly typical, high-drama sports story that had more drama than my young imagination could contain. I read and re-read this and the one other Chip Hilton book our local library had many times.
4. Mrs. Frisby & the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O’Brien – I think I appreciated how dark this was, especially considering it’s a children’s book. The stakes were high and I was drawn into this story and hoped things would turn out well. Great book.
3. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – high-fantasy about kids that walked through a wardrobe into a fantastical world, with one of the scariest villains I encountered during my childhood. I think I saw an animated version of this first, which spurred me to find the book and read. I eventually read all 7 books, and have made sure my children have the correctly numbered series (contemporary volumes are numbered in “chronological” order rather than publishing order, which makes little sense, since Lewis would comment on previous books in his writing. dumb move.)
2. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle – This might be just outside the “10-year-old” range you put forth in your top 5, but I know it’s close. Starting with Star Wars and Saturday morning cartoons, I became a voracious science fiction & fantasy fan. And reading this book was a definite touchstone of my childhood. So much so that I made sure to read it to my first class when I began teaching years ago. Again, a dark, high-drama mix that really appeals to my sensibilities.
1. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – This is the big one, for me. In second grade, our teacher read this to us. I was so captivated that I borrowed my uncle’s copy and, at night, would re-read the chapter Mrs. Corey read to us that day. I’ve since read it over a dozen times (if I’m honest, it’s probably approaching 20 times) and am anxious to be able to share it with my youngest son (having missed out on my older sons after the divorce). Even though Tolkien “didn’t know” what he was doing, this and The Lord of the Rings are two of the best things ever written for their respective genres (i.e. children’s fiction and adult high fantasy).
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