Last month I did a post on ‘Twenty Books That Made Me‘ that is very similar to this post; however, I’ll be talking more about actual children’s books that I loved and started me off with an interest in reading in this post!
To clarify, I was born in 1999, so a lot of these are pretty much staples in the life of a British child in the noughties. Most of what I read in this period of time was at school, as my parents never really read with me or influenced my reading until later on in my reading life.
The Jolly Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
This is a staple in any British child’s reading, especially during the noughties. It was fully interactive with envelopes and letters, and I just remember loving reading this so much I wanted to buy myself a copy when I was about 8 but my mum refused to let me get one from the Scholastic Book Fair. A real tragedy.
Owl Babies by Martin Waddell
It was either this one or We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (that inspired a nightmare I had continually as a child). Ultimately, Owl Babies wins out because it’s this children’s book that started a long-term love I still have for owls. I find them fascinating! Owl was also my favourite in Winnie the Pooh for a while, although I grew up watching Winnie the Pooh, not reading it.
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
ICONIQUE. I have a very distinct memory of just sitting down and looking at the artwork in this collection as a kid; it’s when I could read, I was just fascinated by the art. I’m one of the rare few who really loves the film, too, my dad took me and my younger sister and even though they both hated it, I loved everything about it! I was into super violent stuff even as a kid, and I was so terrified by violence in a kid’s movie that I fell in love with it. That sounds strange- I swear I was a normal child, I just had very strange tastes.
Funnybones by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
Obviously these authors are a staple of my childhood. Funnybones is one that helped me a lot with speech growing up, I had difficulties pronouncing certain words especially when they would come one after the other (yellow became lellow for years, it drove my parents mad). I used to read this all the time in after school club, which I used to go to instead of going Science club and always got in trouble for skipping out on science.
In a dark, dark town there was a dark, dark street………
Horrible Histories by Terry Deary
There is a very specific omnibus Horrible Histories book that has massive spreads from loads of the major events in history, but I can’t for the life of me remember what it’s called, so I’m just including the series. My personal favourite spreads were from the making of the pyramids and the black plague, which honestly makes so much sense with my personality.
One Day at Horrorland by R.L. Stine
Yes, we’re on to chapter books now!
Horrorland is the most distinct of the Goosebumps books in my mind, and is probably the root cause of my fear of amusement parks along with the film The Lost Boys. Other than this one, Say Cheese and Die and Deep Trouble stand out the most in my head. Even though I can’t remember plot specifics, I still really loved them, and are the reason I loved the Grizzly Tales animated show.
Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl
Look. I can distinctly remember going to the library in year 3, and every single time, I would immediately root out this to not only practice my speech, but to find the swearing in one of the specific pages to show other people in my class. It got so bad they hid the book in the upstairs non-fiction section my year group were banned from.
The funniest part about that story is, four years later, my sister did the exact same thing in her year 3 class. We were the experts in finding age-inappropriate content to pollute the minds of other children.
Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton
This was the first book my mum ever suggested I read! She was more of a Malory Towers/Secret Seven girl, but I was a big big fan of these kinds of adventures because of Scooby Doo (thanks for that obsession, dad), so I went with these. At one point I owned probably fifteen books in this series, but I ended up donating all of them to charity when we did my room up.
Even though I wouldn’t buy her books now- she’s very problematic as an author, something little me never would have known- I’m tempted to find a copy of this book to do a re-read.
The Diamond Girls/Girls in Love by Jacqueline Wilson
Absolute formative books. The Diamond Girls had some of the most jaw dropping moments in my young reading life, I cannot express how much I loved this book. It’s why I focus so much on siblings in the stories I write now. All my chubby girls who finally found themselves in a character reading the Girls in Love series HMU, that series had me up at 2am crying more than once!
These two weren’t the first Jacqueline Wilson books I read, though. That goes to Vicky Angel! I also loved Cookie (another chubby main character), Love Lessons/Kiss (her more grown up books), and Clean Break. I always loved the cover for Midnight, though, because I was a little emo kid and was fascinated by how dark it was.
Demon Thief by Darren Shan
Speaking of dark books/books about siblings…
This is the final book I’m including because I feel like it’s the last ‘childhood’ favourite in my life. I actually finished the final book, Hell’s Heroes, in three hours on my final day of primary school. I specifically talk about Demon Thief being my favourite because it’s the first I read of the series, and Kernel is also my absolute favourite character. He’s probably the most sympathetic for me, and he goes through some shit. Literally every character in this series has a terrible time, though, and it’s depressing as hell, but I love it so so much. I’m well due a re-read of the series.
And that’s my list! What books would you include? Any similar to me? Would love to know!
Thank you for reading!
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