If you are like me and have not heard of International Book Giving Day yet, here’s a fun fact: This holiday on Valentine’s Day is about giving as many books back as possible to kids.
Personally, something I regret now is not reading enough as a kid. I remember that in elementary school we were required to get a book from the library every week. I used to grab the same book over and over again because I knew I would not read it. Even though I did not read as much, I always liked writing. I was not even close to being a bookworm until I joined the book club at my high school.
To celebrate my love for books and this holiday, I wanted to share some childhood books I did enjoy. An interesting take, I think, on how these books have influenced the kind of reads I have now.
*These are not in any specific order. *
1. Junie B. Jones Series
These books are so fun to read when you are little! Even my mom would laugh at the main character’s sass and images included.
2. American Girl Series
It was probably the Hardy Boys for guys my age growing up, or maybe that’s closer to Nancy Drew, but American Girl was a big thing to me and my sister growing up. Even before I moved to Minnesota, we would visit family in the cities and go to the American Girl doll store at Mall of America. Back at home, I have my doll, Molly, somewhere amidst my closet.
The series of books were so special, however. Every girl had a different home situation they had to deal with, representing so many different cultures and ways of upbringing. These are stories that I will be giving to my daughter to read because they contain so many important lessons.
3. The Clique Series
Okay, as for myself, I only read the first two books, truthfully, but it is so worth the read! My sister read the whole series, and we ended up watching the movie when it came out later (fun fact: It features little Clay Jensen and young Bridgit Mendler). The books follow themes on popularity and exclusion, which is something I think everyone can relate to.
4. Mary Downing Hall (Author)
I do not know what it was, but I had a phase where I began reading mystery and ghost-like stories. Mary Hall had some of my absolute favorites growing up. I found one of her books at a Scholastic Book Club fair, and ever since—I was searching for more stories by her to read.
Here are some of my favorites from her that I could not put down:
1. Deep and Dark and Dangerous
2. Wait till Helen Comes
3. All the Lovely Bad Ones
5. Something Like Fate
I blame this book for being the reason why I became so immersed in romance stories. To my middle school self, this book was full of tea, and I had to read to see how it played out. I could not put it down, and as a result, I read other books by Susane Colasanti.
6. Ida B.
I read this book for class years ago, but I still remember the name itself. This fiction story is about a girl’s coming of age after the family hears her mom has cancer. Ida learns how to accept the way things are and has a bigger imagination when it comes to nature and wildlife.
Oh my gosh, if any of these books were to be rated, this would be number one! The story and lesson are so important, and it is all underrated. Your basic girl meets a boy and is obsessed with him––“flips” (get it?), and the guy falls for her. This is, of course, after the two went through multiple fallouts and the girl was leaving for good, etc. However, this book is not just good because of a cute romance going on; there are some heavier contexts in the story, topics like social class and the environment. Personally, after reading AND watching the movie, I have an inquired love for sycamore trees. If you know, you know.
8. The Outsiders
So, recently I have been thinking about re-reading this book because I watched Outer Banks over the summer, and its set-up reminds me of the idea of Pogues vs. Kooks, etc. In The Outsiders, they are Greasers and Socs. While there is not much, I remember in this book, which is another reason I’d like to re-read it, none of my peers, or anyone really, forgets the saying “Stay gold, Ponyboy,” meaning that all good things come to an end.
Hopefully, these are enough books to have readers feeling nostalgic about books they have read growing up. One of my biggest regrets is not reading Harry Potter or other bigger series. Sometimes if you do not have an interest to read, the only way to get out of that funk is to intentionally read more!