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Books: What Are Your Favorite Children’s Books?

Whether you’ve got little people of your own or just happened to keep your entire Little Golden Books collection through college, children’s books stand the test of time on our bookshelves.

These Days’ Monday chat with Dr. Alida Allison of SDSU’s Childrens Book Review service got me thinking about the treasured books of my youth – and wondering what yours were.

The first book I ever read “by myself” was “Go Dog Go!” by PD Eastman, which chronicled the comings and goings of many dogs, whom I believe ended up in a large tree party that I desperately wanted to go to.

But the book I treasured the most was the tale of the reluctant fighting bull, “The Story of Ferdinand.” As you may recall, he would rather look at flowers than fight – only recently did I learn that the book was banned in Spain and burned in Nazi Germany for its pacifist sympathies.

As I got older I devoured "The Baby-sitter's Club" series (I don’t think there’s a political subtext there, but you never know…), as well as young persons' classics like Scott O’Dell’s "Island of the Blue Dolphins," which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

What are your favorite children’s (and young adult!) books – from yesterday and today?

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Avatar for user 'Jocelyn'

Jocelyn | June 28, 2010 at 2:45 p.m. ― 6 years, 9 months ago

The American Girls series was probably my favorite in third grade. I wanted to be Kirsten. I wanted to ride a horse through the prairie like her. Learning to ride a horse in Southern California suburbia didn't quite live up to my expectations that I got from books.

Fourth Grade: The Babysitter's and all the California historical fictions books we read in class.

In fifth grade I loved anything written by Yoshiko Uchida. She wrote Jar of Dreams and other young adult books about Japanese American families in California.

When I was really little a picture book called Goose Eggs was my favorite but my mom wouldn't read it to me because it was too long. My second choice were fairy tales and Mother Goose.

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Avatar for user 'Tammy Carpowich'

Tammy Carpowich, KPBS Staff | June 28, 2010 at 4:20 p.m. ― 6 years, 9 months ago

Where do I begin? As a very young child, my parents used to read me The Digging-est Dog. When I got older, I loved Scholastic book order days. I still get chills thinking about it.

My favorites... Beverly Cleary (Ramona, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, etc.), Shell Silverstein (Where the Sidewalk Ends), Judy Blume (Blubber, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Tiger Eyes), Lois Duncan thrillers, A Little Princess, Choose Your Own Adventure books, Black Beauty, James and the Giant Peach, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, The Velveteen Rabbit, The Cricket in Times Square, Watership Down, Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, My Side of the Mountain, Old Yeller, Encyclopedia Brown... I'm sure I'll think of more. I loved reading as a kid.

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Avatar for user 'Tammy Carpowich'

Tammy Carpowich, KPBS Staff | June 28, 2010 at 4:28 p.m. ― 6 years, 9 months ago

And... The Outsiders, Rumblefish & That Was Then, This is Now

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Avatar for user 'foreveryoung'

foreveryoung | June 28, 2010 at 6:40 p.m. ― 6 years, 9 months ago

The Witches, Because of Winn Dixie, Eragon, Harry Potter, Ramona, Esperanza Rising...

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Avatar for user 'rengeorgie'

rengeorgie | June 29, 2010 at 3:09 p.m. ― 6 years, 9 months ago

From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler made my 10 year self want to run away to the Museum of Natural History in New York, and wondering what an "Automat" was.

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Avatar for user 'ftess3'

ftess3 | June 29, 2010 at 9:24 p.m. ― 6 years, 9 months ago

I am clearly older than your other respondents. When I was quite young, my parents read me Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey and Ferdinand. Also, the Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter as well as many of her other "tales". After I learned to read, I adored Winnie-the Pooh by A.A. Milne (this was long before Disney took Pooh over). I also truly loved such classics as the Secret Garden, Heidi and Little Women. In a lighter vein, I enjoyed Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames ( a nurse series) and another series about a nurse--Sue Barton.

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Avatar for user 'Lilith'

Lilith | July 1, 2010 at 10:04 a.m. ― 6 years, 9 months ago

Encyclopedia Brown, Misty of Chincoteague & Marguerite Henry's other books about the wild horses on Chincoteague Island; the Wrinkle in Time series, Ramona series, Winnie the Pooh, Andersen's Fairy Tales, Grimm Fairy Tales, Pierre by Maurice Sendak, anything else by Mr. Sendak, All of Roald Dahl's books, My Brother Sam is Dead & other from a series of history stories for children. The hungry Caterpillar, Alice in Wonderland (the real deal, NOT Disney). I spent all of my earned money, gift money and "what do you want for Christmas" responses as a 7 year old on collecting the entire Nancy Drew series. "Sigh", nice bit of nostalgia - I am sure I am forgetting a few and I will have to follow up with another post

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Avatar for user 'Lilith'

Lilith | July 1, 2010 at 10:05 a.m. ― 6 years, 9 months ago

Yes, of course, all of SE Hinton's works. The Chocolate War, Judy Blume's books, especially It's Not the End of the World

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Avatar for user 'Tammy Carpowich'

Tammy Carpowich, KPBS Staff | August 12, 2010 at 2:57 p.m. ― 6 years, 7 months ago

Lilith~ Did you know that a Ramona Quimby movie came out in late July? I haven't see it yet, but I've been meaning to.

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Avatar for user 'Droofus'

Droofus | August 12, 2010 at 9:02 p.m. ― 6 years, 7 months ago

It seems most people are listing books for older children. Here is a solid group of elite picture books:

A Pig Named Perrier
The Giving Tree
Where the Wild Things Are
The Carrot Seed
Darkness Slipped in
Are You My Mother?
The Story of Ferdinand
How Droofus the Dragon Lost His Head
A Story For Bear
Monster Mama
Harold and the Purple Crayon
There's a Nightmare in my Closet
My Mommy
The Luck of the Loch Ness Monster: A Tale of Picky Eating
Mrs. Biddlebox
Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm
Emma Kate
The Night Eater
Dog Breath
Wet Dog!
Up in the Tree
I Need My Monster
Pierre in Love
Goodnight Moon

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Avatar for user 'kristismarelli'

kristismarelli | July 19, 2011 at 6:58 p.m. ― 5 years, 8 months ago

My favorites were Peppermint, Dr. Goat, Little Black Sambo, Mr. Grabbit, and Christmas in the Country. As I got older, I adored anything by Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume. Of course, I also had the entire collection of Nancy Drew, Meg, Trixie Belden, and Donna Parker. YES, I am over 40!

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