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  • Writer's pictureCS Simpson

Childhood Reading Favs

Updated: May 13, 2022

The recent death of beloved author Beverly Cleary has me thinking about the books of hers that I loved as a child, as well as all of the others that got me into reading longer stories. I'm pretty sure that Ramona Quimby, Age 8 is one of the very first chapter books that I tackled (around age eight, I might add). I identified with Ramona's tomboy wackiness and having a "bossy" big sister to annoy. I know Cleary wrote more stories, and I read these out of order, but this is how I remember being introduced to her books:

Ramona Quimby, Age 8

Beezus and Ramona

Ramona the Pest

Henry and Ribsy

The Mouse and the Motorcycle

Runaway Ralph

Ralph S. Mouse

I count myself fortunate to have grown up in a reading household. My parents had a packed bookshelf and usually toted a paperback around to appointments. They both took time to read out loud to my big sister and myself in the eveningcomplete with character voices! Hearing about hobbits and the world of Narnia sparked my already-busy imagination in ways I cannot begin to count. I'm told I knew my alphabet before starting kindergarten. As soon as I could read on my own, I was enjoying Dr. Seuss, Little Bear, Frog & Toad, Babar, Sesame Street books, Berenstain Bears, Mr. Men & Little Miss, Little Critter, Curious George, and Golden Booksad nauseam. 😆

There are SO many story characters that became my temporary friends as a kid, but I thought it might be fun to highlight those I remember best. The most memorable titles (in no particular order) are as follows:

Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling

Superfudge by Judy Blume

There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom by Louis Sachar

The Little Gymnast by Sheila Haigh

Harriet The Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

The Borrowers by Mary Norton

Mandy by Julie Andrews Edwards

Surprise at Big Key Ranch, Book 1 of The Tyler Twins Series by Hilda Stahl

Amelia Bedelia books

The Bobbsey Twins Collection

Nancy Drew Collection

Choose Your Own Aventure Books

Encyclopedia Brown Series

The Babysitters Club Series

The Mandie Series by Lois Gladys Leppard

Seasons of the Heart Series by Janette Oke

I guess I was obsessed with orphans, twins, and mystery back then! 😄 In case you're a parent looking for good kid-friendly books, I definitely recommend the titles aboveregardless of their original publication date.

I think my transition to adult level books was either through Frank Peretti's Darkness Series or C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy. Either way, my story options grew exponentially from thereand I never looked back (until now).

Did I miss any titles that were YOUR favorites? Please add a comment at the bottom of this page and let me know!


- Book Covers I Remember -

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Hanna Anderson
Hanna Anderson
Mar 30, 2021

I love this tribute! And also one of my favorite things to do with my boys (3 & 5) is to read classics from when I was a kid. It's amazing how many I forgotten about until I actually SEE them! (I'm very visual).

When we lived back in Southern Oregon, I used to work at a children's consignment store, and one of my all-time favorite things was when people would bring in their old books to consign, and I would look through them and often see SO MANY books from my childhood!

From books my parents had used to help with potty training (Once Upon a Potty: Alona Frankel) to classic chapter books like the BFG: Roald Dahl. Also…

CS Simpson
CS Simpson
Mar 30, 2021
Replying to

Wow, Hanna, it sounds like you had a great introduction to books too! I’m also very visual and had too much fun trying to find the “right“ covers for the collage image! Unfortunately I don’t know all of the authors on your list and have to look them up now… I hope your boys find both entertainment and life lessons in their story reading as they grow. 🤓

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