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Updated by Kayllisti on Sep 07, 2015
Kayllisti Kayllisti
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Favorite Children's Books

A list of my favorite novels from before age 12.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)

This one was right on the cusp. My 7th grade teacher read this book out loud to us in class. It was my first day in a brand new school and she was starting at chapter 1. I was immediately enthralled. Sure, she pronounced Hermoine's name wrong, and she was probably one of the meanest teachers that I ever had, but she introduced me to a series that I have loved for years. Every year, I reread at least one HP book. And even when my adult logic kicks in and I find holes everywhere, the books are like old friends with whom I never want to fall out of touch.

A Little Princess

This was perhaps the beginning of my love affair with turn of the century literature. I treasured this book, and I have read it more times than I would like to admit, yes, even as an adult. Every little girl is a princess, she just has to believe in it herself. Of course, as an adult reader, I'm tempted to tear this book apart for its exotic depiction of colonial India and the princess complex exhibited my many adult woman who grew up on such literature, but what would be the fun in that? You can love something and still realize that it is flawed. In my heart, A Little Princess will never be anything other than perfect.

So You Want to Be a Wizard (Young Wizards, #1)

I found this book on the shelf in a library, just like the girl in the novel finds her own book titled, So You Want to Be a Wizard. That magical meta element made this book an instant classic to me. This book showed me magic as I had never seen it. It was magic; it was physics; it was real and explainable. Diane Duane, who has also written for the Star Trek universe, opened me to a whole new world where magic was scientific, dangerous, and beautiful.

Ella Enchanted

Read to me by my school librarian, Dr. Kramer, this retelling of the classic Cinderella story became a favorite among my friends and me.Instead of using the fairy tale genre to teach little girls to obey, Ella teaches of the dangers of obedience. She is witty and rebellious and a wonderful feminist heroine. It also inspired us to write a series of our own fairy tale retellings. I wish that I still had a copy of any one of those stories.

Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables, #1)

How could I not love this book? It's about a little girl who love to read, write, imagine. Anne's the type of little girl born with a special magic to brighten the lives of all those around her. When I read the book, she brightened me. Anne made me feel like it was okay to use long words, to write useless stories, to read too much, and to be competitive in school. In no time, Anne and I were kindred spirits.

How I Got My Shrunken Head (Goosebumps, #39)

This review would be honest if I didn't mentions the Goosebumps series. I devoured these books and had a special shelf dedicated to their collection. I remember two clear favorites: How I Got My Shrunken Headand The Haunted Mask. I'm not sure why these books caught the attention of my generation, but they did. We would read anything with that Goosebumps label. I always felt like I was getting away with something when I read them, and, maybe, that was the secret. They were scary and our parents never really got them, and some parents even refused to let their children read them. Also, the Goosebumps series was sympathetic to children that age. In the books, siblings were annoying and adults just could never understand.
Perhaps these were the first guilty pleasure reads of an entire generation.

Between Two Worlds

When I tried to find this book, it was like it never existed. For whatever reason, this book fascinated me and I read it over and over again. I borrowed this from my teacher's library shelf, and I never gave it back. (I'm sorry!) I still own the same copy with it's thrashed cover from so many readings. The book follows a young Paiute girl, Sarah Winnemucca, and the changes her tribe goes through as they have increasing contact with white settlers. Sarah is educated in both her own tribe and in the white Christian community, and she feels as if she is a bridge between the two very different worlds. The book is based on a true story.

Bridge to Terabithia

This was another read-aloud by a teacher, and it's the only book on the list that I have read only once. Despite this, it still takes a place. Bridge to Terabithia is a magical story about young friendship between two imaginative children who create their own world of play, Terabithia. This is one of those stories that will make you cry, but the lessons it teaches are necessary for children of this age. Props to my teacher, I'm not sure that I could have read this aloud without blubbering.


Bunnicula is one of those books that I remember nearly nothing about except for the feels that I have for it. I love bunnies and stories about vampires. Either this book was made for me or it made me who I am.

Thirst No. 1 (Thirst, #1)

I bought this book from Half Price Books right when it came out, and I devoured it. Looking back, it may not have been wholly appropriate for an 11-year-old reader, and that was certainly part of it's appeal. I remember carrying the trilogy edition with me everywhere during 5th grade for two reasons: 1, I was constantly reading and rereading it; 2, I wanted everyone to see me with this super thick book. Christopher Pike began my longtime love of vampire lore. I know vampires have been done to death over the past 10 years, but I still like to pick up the occasional blood-thirsty read.