I’ve noticed that the things I saw and read in my childhood made such an impression on me. I’ll read a book or watch a movie now and forget it by next week. But the stuff from my childhood, some of those things I’ll never forget.
It’s hard to quantify which books were the best or meant the most, but the five listed below truly made an impression on my life.
Island of the Blue Dolphins
by Scott O’Dell
This book was so well-written, so lyrical, so tragic. I was mesmerized by the story of one solitary girl’s survival on an island. It was haunting, and the story stuck with me long after I read it.
Summer of the Monkeys
by Wilson Rawls
This book was so vivid to me, and so magical. The adventures of one boy and his desire to earn money for a horse knew no bounds. The monkeys were hilarious. The story was touching. The little sister Daisy was so influential for me that in 3rd grade my goal in life was to become a nurse. (And then I learned that nursing involved blood and other bodily fluids and my dreams were quickly shattered.) But Summer of the Monkeys is one book I will always treasure.
The Little Princess
by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Sara Crewe was the portrait of a princess – kind, giving, loving, open-hearted – even when life turned against her. She started out as the star pupil at a boarding school, but circumstances brought her low and she became the maid to girls she once learned with. Her imagination and buoyant spirit couldn’t keep her down, and this is one book I plan to pass along to my kids.
Anne of Green Gables
by L. M. Montgomery
Who wasn’t in love with Anne of Green Gables? I think I dreamed of having a bosom friend just as wonderful as Anne was. Her vivid imagination and flair for the dramatic made the books delightful to read. And Gilbert Blythe? Come on! Every girl loved this story, and if you haven’t read it, remedy that right now!
Trixie Belden series
by Julie Campbell / Kathryn Kenny
Oh, Trixie Belden. Loved her name. Loved her detective adventure stories. She and the gang (comprised of her brothers and several friends) were always having adventures. Trixie would discover some kind of mystery, but no one would believe her until she had solved it and saved the day. I think I loved her because while she was nothing like me (she was tomboyish and daring), she was also not the most beautiful, she was clumsy, and she sometimes made mistakes. I related. “Oh whoa!” Plus, this is the series that inspired my dream to become a writer. I am still in the process of collecting all the books in the series (There are 39 total), which isn’t easy as they’ve been out of print for a while.