For most book-lovers I know, reading was a passion that developed at a young age. I know this was true for me. I can actually pinpoint when it happened. Does anyone else remember having the AR program to track and encourage reading in elementary and middle school? The AR stands for Accelerated Reader. Each book in the school library had a level and a point value given to it. So books that were a reading level of 1 or 2 would be worth .5 or 1 point while much harder books like Harry Potter and Swiss Family Robinson would be worth 20 points or so. My elementary school had a special lunch and recognition for the top 10 readers in the school at the end of every year. Well, something clicked when I was 7 or 8 years old because I went from just reaching the bare minimum goal of around 25 points in 2nd grade to being one of the Top 10 Readers in the school in 3rd grade. And ever since, I haven’t been able to quit reading.
Because I have so many fond memories surrounding reading and books growing up I thought I’d share with you guys some of the books that were my all-time favorites in grade school. Seriously. I read these books so many times, some of them started to fall apart.
Heidi by Johanna Spyri
Little Heidi is only five years old when her aunt thrusts her into the care of her grandfather, a brusque and intimidating man who lives alone in a wooden cottage high on the mountain. But, as time passes, Heidi and her grandfather each grow to love the other. As the years pass, the mountain and her grandfather’s cottage become home and she befriends the only other occupants on the mountain—the goatherd, Peter, his mother, and his blind grandmother. But what will happen when Heidi’s aunt arrives unexpectedly three years later to take her back to the city?
Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling
The Boy Who Lived. The name was whispered all around the world by wizards on the night that one-year-old Harry Potter received his lightning bolt shaped scar—and the night that Voldemort disappeared. Ten year later, on his eleventh birthday Harry learns that he is a wizard and his world changes. Now instead of dreading school and dealing with his aunt and uncle’s neglect and his cousin’s torment, Harry looks forward to the start of the school year and has friends who stay by his side. The series follows Harry, Hermoine, and Ron as they learn magic at school and battle Voldemort and his lingering followers as they try to regain the reign of terror they’d enjoyed over a decade ago.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
This science fantasy novel focuses on Meg, a thirteen-year-old girl whose father went missing while working on a mysterious project for the government called a tesseract. While Meg’s teachers see Meg as a troublesome student, her family understands that she is simply different from her classmates. In fact, only Meg’s athletic ten-year-old twins fit in at school while Meg and her youngest brother Charles Wallace are seen as troublesome and stupid. Due to a series of unexpected turns, Meg, Charles Wallace and new acquaintance Calvin O’Keefe are taken on a strange journey that not only takes them to another planet but also promises to rescue Meg’s missing father and prove the existence of the tesseract.
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Written by the same author as The Secret Garden, A Little Princess chronicles a little girl who loses everything only to gain it back again years later. Sara Crewe, only ten-years-old when she first began attending Miss Minchin’s London boarding school, isn’t really a princess though most of her classmates think she seems like one. An unfortunate occurrence leaves her penniless and stranded at the boarding school. Suddenly, instead of wearing the finest dresses and attending classes, Sara finds herself wearing rags and working in the school. Slowly, through her kind nature, she learns that she was not forgotten like she thought and that kindness returns kindness.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
This classic tale follows Mary Lennox who is sent to live with her uncle after her parents and their household staff are struck by a sudden outbreak of Cholera. With nothing else to amuse the sickly and cross little girl, she takes to wandering the grounds of her uncle’s manor. During her wanderings she meets Dickon, a boy who can charm every creature that lives on Yorkshire moors. Mary also discovers a walled garden that has been locked and forgotten for years. Can Mary bring the garden back to life or is everything inside the walls dead?
Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer
Set in Ireland, this series dives into the country’s well-known history regarding fairies and other mythological creatures. Artemis Fowl is a twelve-year-old genius who also happens to be a millionaire criminal mastermind. Always interested in a challenge, Artemis sets out to kidnap a fairy. Once he does however, even he is not prepared for the consequences. Follow Artemis throughout this series as he drags his new acquaintances on one criminal adventure after another. He may even learn something along the way.
Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
It’s the summer of 1793 and Mattie Cook lives with her mother and grandfather above their family owned coffee shop. She spent her days avoiding her chores and coming up with ideas to turn the family shop into the best in all of Philadelphia. When Yellow Fever breaks out in her town and the townsfolk begin dying as a result, Mattie’s mother insists she leave the city with her grandfather. But they soon realize that the fever has spread much farther than they knew and Mattie must learn how to survive in a chaotic city riddled with disease.
Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan
This story takes place in India and follows thirteen-year-old Koly as she is arranged to be married as is custom in her country. When her marriage takes an unexpected turn, Koly suddenly finds herself abandoned in a city full of widows. Knowing no one and without any money, it seems that her only option is to join those who chant for food until a second opportunity presents itself. Follow Koly as she figures out her new life and creates her own future.
What books did you love growing up?