Do you remember what your favourite book in childhood was? Apparently I don’t. According to my father my favourite book as a child was ‘Peter Pan’. Embarrassingly I don’t remember ever even having read it! However I was then reminded of my mother reading me the book endlessly because I loved Wendy (and as memories return, the Mermaids as well). She also read on endless repeat, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Very Hungry Caterpillar and I think Dear Zoo may have haunted her nightmares we asked for it so very many times.
What we read in childhood seeps into our subconscious and with each re-reading adds another brick to who we become as people. After I became a Children’s Book buyer for a while, I read so very many books for all ages that I had forgotten exactly what I read as a child and what I wish I had read as a child.
Since I was delving back into the past, I decided to make everyone do it and so below are each bookseller’s (remembered) three favourite books or series from childhood. Each person wrote a little note on why these books were special to them and then Georgia wrote me a beautiful mini-essay on each of her choices!
Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park: I don't quite know how many times I read this book in my teens. I kept returning to it for so many reasons and when I re-read it as an adult was thrilled to discover it held up after all these years.
Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden: This was the first series of books I remember really getting into as a teenager. I hated waiting for the next book to come out and loved the idea that a world can be created and inspired by the one we live in.
Cinderella: My mum grew up with the exact same book! It was also my first Disney princess movie.
Matilda by Roald Dahl: I read his books and used them as the basis of our play (as in play time) at school. When Matilda the movie came out we would reenact scenes over and over again
Japanese Folk Tales: These were massive volumes with no pictures (What's the user of a book without any pictures? Thank you Alice in wonderland) but I was read these regularly when I was 5yo & younger and I still remember them so clearly.
Anne of Green Gales by L.M. Montgomery: My early memories of reading were with my mum reading a chapter per night of Anne of Green Gables. Just couldn’t get enough and loved moving on to the next book.
Wacky Wednesday by Dr Seuss: Reading this to my kids is a precious memory for me.
Noisy Nora by Rosemary Wells: This is a great small book about position in family . Best line ever written - 'I’m leaving and I’m never coming back and all you could hear was a rat a tat tat.
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling: I love this series for so many reasons. The way Rowling portrays the magical world always captivates me and it’s nice that the books are still realistic in that the relationships between people were not always perfect showing that they were all just human.
Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis: I love imagining the world of Narnia because of all the talking animals and moving trees which, as a student studying ecology, sounds like a paradise with a great many adventures to be had!
The Key to Rondo by Emily Rodda: This series was another one of my childhood favourites because like the other two it was full of magic and adventure in another world. I never tired of reading fantasy books as a child but this series showed a completely different sort of magical world than others that I’d read about and expanded my imagination even more!
Space Demons Trilogy by Gillian Rubinstein: This is probably one of the clearest memories I have of reading a book as a kid because I absolutely inhaled this series. I was home from school sick and banished to my room to reduce the infected zone and I was very bored as kids can get sitting in their room unable to sleep. I ended up bugging my mum with the typical "I'm bored" whine of a child and she sent me back into my room but with the first Space Demons book. I sat on my bed under the window and didn't move until I finished it a few hours later at which point I went and grabbed a snack and took the second book up to my room and finished that one the same day as well. The best way I can think to describe it is an Australian, young YA Ready Player One written in 1985.
Rangers Apprentice series by John Flanagan: I had to read the first book in this series for class when I was in Year Six and man I was blown away. I was so absorbed in this story and it made my tiny fantasy loving heart cry out in joy. It is a very mediaeval sort of setting with hilarious and loveable characters that I got so attached to and I was absolutely hooked on the whole thing. It is definitely a series that when you reread the first book after finishing a later one you have to go awwww they were so little because the character growth and development in this story is really strong.
Rainbow Magic Series by Daisy Meadow: There are so many more books I wish I could add to this list *cough* Harry Potter *cough* but I definitely feel like this series was so instrumental in my current love for reading. I was obsessed with this series. My friend and I would often go down to the library and check to see if there were any new Rainbow Magic books that had come in and I had (still have to be perfectly honest) a pretty sizeable collection myself. I was always asking for more box sets for Christmas and Birthdays. I thought it was the best thing to ever grace the planet. My reading choices have obviously matured...slightly, but I would be lying if I didn't say there is a small part of my heart that is not ridiculously sentimental about this series.