We all have that one book that stuck out the most and made us readers. The whole reason I write, and you read, is because we love stories. My childhood was absolutely filled with books. I used to build forts out of blankets and pillows and then sit in them all day reading. Whenever I got into trouble my mother would take away my TV privileges and my toys and tell me to go to my room. But she NEVER took away my books. I was usually happy to just go sit in my room alone and read. Not long later she realized that grounding me wasn’t really a punishment. So she stopped. Because all I did was read and write stories.
So here I am, MANY years later and a published author. So, here is a small list of my favorite books from my childhood that I remember loving. To be clear, I was born in the late 80’s and discovered my love of reading in the mid 90’s, so most of these were published before 2005 (when I graduated HS). See my other posts about my favorite books for more recent reads! (Some repeats here).
I have linked the Amazon.com buy link just in case you’d like to check them out, but for many of the series I name I only linked the first book in series. You can do the research yourself! There also may be some spoilers!
Let’s start with the younger age groups:
Love you Forever by Robert Munsch
This book ALWAYS makes me cry. To this day. And it has such a lovely sentiment. This is the perfect gift for any new parent in your life!
The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
I Loved this book as a child. Pretty sure it’s the reason I love bunnies so much. Such a sweet example of motherly love and childhood rebellion.
The Maggie B. by Irene Haas
This book. Man. This book sparked my imagination like no other book ever before. It is a huge reason I wanted to become an author. I especially loved the description of all the food and her love for her little brother.
Next come the chapter books.
Ronia, The Robber’s Daughter by Astrid Lindgren
I’ve talked about this book before. I’ll talk about it again. I LOVE this story. It inspired me to write my first book. It has continued to inspire me since. Filled with innocence and adventure.
Island of The Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
This book always got me. I loved her spirit, her survival, her compassion. I loved the adventure. Great starter chapter book and a classic.
The Hatchet Series by Gary Paulsen
I recently went to a bunch of second hand stores and tracked down this entire series and then re-read it. This book made me fall in love with the outdoors. It made me fall in love with winter and snow. It made me fall in love with adventure and survival. I can’t say enough good things about this series.
My Side of The Mountain by Jean Craighead George
I always wanted to be the main character in this book. I wanted to live in a hallowed out log on a mountain away from everyone else and make my own things. I wanted to tame a hawk and go hunting and build things. This book was perfect for a little tomboy in love with the mountains.
The Giver by Lois Lowry
A classic. Such great imagery and a great commentary on our world and emotions. This was probably the first dystopian I ever read and it certainly made me have a hunger for it.
And finally, the books that got me through middle school and high school.
Pit Dragon Chronicles by Jane Yolen
This series was one of the first trilogies about dragons I ever read. I loved the idea of the main character stealing a dragon and raising it on his own. It also touches on indentured servitude and a small romance. Very interesting world as well. I believe this might be a sci-fi/fantasy combo since it’s a colony of earth.
Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling
I was there when it all began. I read it when book two came out. I was 10 when I started reading. I desperately wanted my Hogwarts letter when I was 11. I am still a huge Potter head.
Abhorsen Series by Garth Nix
I’ve talked about this underrated series before. I will continue to. So great. First fantasy of its kind that bring YA and necromancy/demons/death together. LOVE this series with all of my heart.
His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman
I am beyond excited about the TV series. I have loved these books since the beginning. I began reading it when The Subtle Knife came out and was there for the release of The Amber Spyglass. I just bought the Book of Dust and can’t wait to read it. It combines complex ideas about modern science and other worlds/alternate realities and morality in with a delightfully complex fantasy world.
Tortall Series (multiple) by Tamora Pierce
If you haven’t read Tamora Pierce, can you even call yourself a fantasy fan? Seriously, these books. I will say I’ve never read her Circle Opens series but I LOVE all the Tortall books with every ounce of my being. They are similar to the Harry Potter books in that they feel like coming home. Her Song of the Lioness Quartet was also part of what made me want to be an author. I wanted to write books with so much adventure, with strong female characters, and just a smidgen of romance.
Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
I’ve talked about this book before. I love anything written by Sherwood Smith, but her Crown Duel book (originally two books) is what got me into her books. It made me fall in love with court intrigue and medieval fantasy with just a little magic.
Inheritance Series by Christopher Paolini
And of course, Dragons. I was with this series from the beginning. I loved the scope and complexity of this world and the magic system. And of course, I loved the dragons. This series did help to influence my own Valdir Chronicles.