If you were anything like me as a child, you were precocious, probably more than a little annoying, and you loved reading. Children’s books have really developed and expanded as a genre, including the whole tween and YA subgenre- I love that there is a never-ending stream of options for kids to find their reading fit! However, I still believe that the old classic series are where it’s at. There isn’t a ton of violence, they are classic mysteries, and there’s something different about getting lost in the past for a few hours at a time. Today’s post is all about my favourite books as a kid, so get ready for a blast from the past!
My mom introduced me to The Bobbsey Twins when I wanted to get into reading Nancy Drew but at 6 wasn’t necessarily old enough to handle that. The Bobbsey Twins are two sets of fraternal twins (both a sister and a brother) that stumble their way into different mysteries and jams. Essentially, it’s Nancy Drew for a younger demographic, and they are wonderful. Nan, Bert, Freddie, and Flossie have all the curiosity that kids should have, and are more resourceful than most adults- it always made me feel like I could solve anything. It’s also good for families with an age range, as the older twins are eight and the younger four when it starts!
I was fascinated with the Boxcar children as a kid- four siblings who were orphaned who make their home in an abandoned boxcar? What, you are telling me they got to live in a fort?! Sign me up. They have an absolutely lovely grandfather who does find them, and it’s really one of those feel good mysteries that I think would go far in our fairly negative and hard to navigate world. However, if you do give this to a kid to read, keep an eye on them- they may go hunting for abandoned train cars that probably aren’t there….
I like to think of Trixie Belden as Nancy Drew-lite- she’s a little bit younger (only thirteen) and runs a detective agency with her best friend Honey. I loved Trixie! SHe’s great for girls who are 8-12-ish- I worked at a bookstore and parents would often come in asking for help finding books for their daughters that didn’t have any romance. Enter: Trixie Belden! (A little bit sneaks in towards the end, but it’s very minimal.) Something that I loved about her is that she’s pretty realistic; she often compares herself to her friends, complains about siblings, and just generally is a recognisable and normal kid!
Ah, Nancy Drew. If you’ve not heard of Nancy Drew as a girl, I kind of have to congratulate you- she’s one of those those literary characters that is suggested to every girl who reads! And quite frankly, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I personally prefer the classic Nancy Drew books that haven’t been updated for technology and generally but if you have a young reader who isn’t interested in “old” books, there are several Nancy books available that have been updated and written more recently! Also, if you have boys interested in mysteries, obviously The Hardy Boys are a fantastic option.
As a Canadian kid, Anne of Green Gables is the holy grail of children’s books. Written by Lucy Maud Montgomery at the start of the twentieth century, the series tells the story of an orphan named Anne Shirley who is the most ridiculous, precocious, and imaginative girl in the world. She sees beauty and drama wherever she looks, and while it would probably be exhausting to live with her all of the time, it’s so wonderful to get swept away in her day dreams. If you read all the way from Anne of Green Gables through to Anne of Ingleside (the seventh book) you will follow her into adulthood- this is a FANTASTIC series to read as an adult, you will enjoy it as much, if not more than when you were a child. (Also, if you are going to watch a tv/movie adaptation, I insist you watch the Megan Follows 1985 Anne of Green Gables and 1987 Anne of Avonlea CBC productions- they are still by far the most superior versions!)
What is your favourite book from your childhood?