Top 10 Books from My Childhood
1. Charlie Bone Series/Children of the Red King by Jenny Nimmo
I distinctly remember the first time I was ever exposed to the Charlie Bone series. My sixth grade teacher read the third book (The Blue Boa) out to us, and I was instantly hooked. After the book was finished, I asked my teacher if he was going to read anymore and was disappointed when he said no. So, I begged my mum to buy me the series and once I got my hands on them, I read them back-to-back. A fantasy and adventure series, the Charlie Bone series is unique and wonderfully written. The series follows Charlie Bone, who discovers he is ‘endowed’ and can hear the voices of people in photographs and paintings. He is sent to a special school for the Endowed, and faces trials and tribulations along the way. A series every child should read.
2. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
Perhaps Philip Pullman’s most famous series, His Dark Materials consists of a trilogy of fantasy novels. In a world where the souls exist outside their owners’ bodies in the form of animals, the main protagonist, Lyra Belaccqua finds a golden compass only she can read. This compass places her in danger and she embarks on a journey to ultimately save the world. I’m not afraid to admit parts of this series made me cry, especially the ending. Wonderfully written, His Dark Materials is an amazing and touching read.
3. Once, Then, Now, After by Morris Gleitzman
Once was one of the books I had to read for school. Usually, I don’t enjoy compulsory reading, but Once pulled on my heartstrings. Set around the time of the Holocaust, the story is centred on a Jewish boy called Felix who’s determined to find his parents after his orphanage is burnt down by Nazis. On the way, he meets various characters, specifically a recently parent-less girl named Zelda who he protects. An absolutely heart-wrenching series; Gleitzman truly created a masterpiece.
4. Music on the Bamboo Radio by Martin Booth
Another book I had to read for school Music on the Bamboo Radio in set in my hometown, Hong Kong. Set in the Second World War, the protagonist, Nicholas Holford reflects the author’s life to some extent. With the sudden disappearance of his parents, Holford is sneaked away from the Japanese by the family’s loyal servants. Throughout the years, he puts his life in danger by joining the Communist partiasn army. Booth explores themes such as identity and memory is his beautifully crafted piece.
5. The Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osborne
Now, a more lighthearted series. The Magic Treehouse series was something I read day after day as a child. Not only was it an enjoyable source of entertainment but it was educational to some extent. Wherever I was, The Magic Treehouse transported me to wherever Jack and Annie Smith travelled to in their magical treehouse. I have always been fascinated with the idea of time-travel so this series was right up my alley. Many children from my generation also read this series, and I encourage children of every generation give the series a go as well.
6. Horrid Henry Series by Fransesca Simon
Oh, what can I say about this series? As a comical source of much of my entertainment as a youth, Horrid Henrywas so relatable back then. It’s funny now that I relate more to the parents than I do to the children. Encompassing the moodiness that comes with being a child, I look back to Horrid Henry with nostalgic fondness. The series is centred around the titular character who, not surprisingly, is a selfish, mean child. Constantly compared to his younger brother, Perfect Peter, Henry is always up to something. Many of my laughs have been the result of reading a Horrid Henrybook. It’s a timeless classic that any child or parent could relate to.
7. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Another book from my childhood, Charlotte’s Web is a beautiful novel depicting the friendship between a livestock pig named Wilbur, and a spider called Charlotte. When I think of novels with animals as the main characters, I either think of Animal Farm or Charlotte’s Web. Although the two are at completely opposite ends of the spectrum, there’s something special and strange about experiencing a story through an animal’s eyes. I don’t want to spoil the ending so everyone should just read the novel, you won’t regret it!
8. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
This is actually a novel by parents introduced me to. I remember it now, I first read The Wind in the Willows in France. Funnily enough, it’s another novel that has animals (although anthropomorphised) as the main characters. Although mostly humorous, Grahame also touches upon themes such as morality, adventure and morality. Interestingly, many publishers rejected the manuscript and the novel wasn’t given flattering critiques, the public loved The Wind in the Willows. I found the novel to be very enjoyable, and encourage everyone to give it a read.
9. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson
Arguably the most famous novel on this list, The Secret Garden has been modified for the screen numerous times. Following the life of young Mary Lennox, who has been brought up in India, she is a severely spoilt and selfish child. After returning to England due to unfortunate circumstances, she must learn to become independent and more caring. Staying at her Uncle’s, she quickly learns there is a garden that no one is allowed to enter. Being the ever curious and stubborn child, Mary makes it her goal to enter this garden. Along the way, she learns of another secret in the household — her sickly cousin, Colin. A novel surrounded around rebirth and rejuvenation, The Secret Garden is a must read.
10. The Wishing-Chair Series by Enid Blyton
Finally, the last novel on this list. Given to me as a present by a friend for one of my birthdays, I have read The Wishing-Chair Series over and over again. Along with her other series, such as the Famous Five and theSecret Seven, Blyton depicts a wonderful adventure for the audience to follow in her series. Following the main characters, Mollie and Peter, they find a magical chair that can grow a pair of wings and fly. Although I haven’t read the series in a whilst, I think I’ll be picking up the book again soon, just so I can relive my childhood again.
By Amy Newbery