Kori's Childhood Reads
Updated: Nov 24, 2020
Hey, guys! Last time I shared my story on how I started reading and why I love it. Today, I thought it would be cool to stroll down Memory Lane and revisit some of my personal favorite books from childhood (in no particular order). So grab your favorite snack and beverage, and let's be kids again!
Nate the Great - This adorable series about a child detective solving crimes with his canine partner Sludge was one of the first sets of books I read on my own. While I don’t remember most of the stories in detail, I do remember checking these books out of the elementary library with regularity.
Junie B Jones - One of my biggest loves as a child and one of the first chapter books I was able to read on my own. Junie B.'s adventures growing up were so hysterical and fun, but also relatable because of how close we were in age. Her bad grammar made her feel so real to me. There may have also been a similarity in mouthy-ness.
I read each of these books my school library had at least once and had to have any I came across in public. I loved it so much that my mom got me the Junie B. and Me journal one year, and I was obsessed with filling it out. I'm pretty sure I still have it packed up somewhere . . .
Hank the Cowdog - An adorable series about a dog who, as "Head of Ranch Security," has to solve mysteries in order to protect his unnamed home from a slew of "threats." This was one of my first favorites as a kid, probably because of where I grew up. I loved when our librarian would read his stories to our class during our regular trips. And, I mean, talking animals!
Ramona Quimby - I was not as in love with these books as I was with Junie B. Jones for some reason. Perhaps it was the more serious tone, which is a shame considering this series touched on a number of sensitive issues many of us go through as a kid, like financial struggle and parents divorcing and/or having a new child. I still have flashbacks to this series every time I hear or recite the National Anthem.
The Magic Treehouse - All I can say is Jack and Annie were living the dream! They got to escape their mundane life in order to go on Arthurian-inspired quests in a magic treehouse that would bring them home for dinner?!
If you did not read this series as a kid, or you want book recs for a kid in your life, I would highly recommend these. Just writing this has me itching to open a shopping browser!
Nancy Drew – I initially picked these up because I knew my mom loved them when she was a kid. I fell in love with Nancy because of how intelligent and brave she was, and how she used these attributes to help people. She didn't need super powers, she had her wits and her friends. Also, who doesn't love Ned?! My school’s library had a decent, albeit varied, stock. There were a few of the classic Nancy Drew Mystery Stories books, which I adored, as well as titles from the Girl Detective and Nancy Drew Files series. Of the latter, I distinctly remember enjoying Heart of Ice, Love Notes, The Picture of Guilt, and The Wild Cat Crime best.
The Giver, Gathering Blue, Bridge to Terabithia - 5th grade English was the BEST year for required reading. It seemed like every story we read that year gripped my imagination hard and really showed me how emotionally evocative fiction can be.
Harry Potter- Who didn’t see this one coming, right? But what’s not to love?
I can’t even remember the first time I read Harry Potter because it’s been one of my favorites my entire life. Hogwarts for me, like so many others, was the ultimate escape; it was everything I ever wished I could have, the characters felt like family, and growing up with Harry and friends was incredibly impactful. It drew me closer to them, because I could empathize with the things they were feeling.
The Hunger Games - I started reading this after a girl in my summer Upward Bound class wrote a report about book one. I proofread her paper and was instantly hooked— I HAD to read these books. Little did I know, my baby sister was also reading these books, so it gave us something to bond over! I loved how strong and selfless Katniss was, but also—what a badass!
As an older sister, I could relate to her desire to protect Prim. I fell in love with Peeta’s character; it was nice to see a boy in YA who was more in touch with his feminine side on so many levels. I also, of course, loved seeing the author bash excess and the 1%, as well as show kids that you can’t always trust your government. Collins’ portrayal of mental illnesses and hurtles was heartbreaking and beautiful.
Twilight - My childhood friend’s big sister got me started on these books after she devoured the first one in a day. I want to say she finished it in, like, seven hours? I started reading and was instantly taken. I shared it with my mom—we were crazy about this series. There were multiple copies of each in our house, and we made my step-dad take us to see the movie in theaters. But that's a WHOLE other story for later!
Percy Jackson - I don’t remember when my love of Greek mythology began, but I was CRAZY about it, especially in 7th-8th grade. These books were perfect for me as a tween. Annabeth was everything I wanted to be, and Percy said all the things we were thinking. It was nice to have a modern spin on the stories, as well as connections to that world within our own American culture and infrastructure. It made the story feel so much more tangible.
A Series of Unfortunate Events – Being a nerd, I naturally admired and adored the Baudelaire children. It was easy to relate to Klaus as a glasses-clad book lover, and to Violet as the eldest of three. Snicket’s dialogue to the readers added an element of intimacy to the series, as well as comedic relief and sage wisdom. The story was woven in a genius and entertaining way. This was one of the first books I enjoyed where the kids used only their brains to get out of situations rather than awesome powers, so it really stuck with me.
And we're back; what a trip! Which of these books have you read and how did you feel about them? What books did you love that aren't listed? Let me know in the comments!