This week’s topic: What books were you obsessed with as a kid?
I’ve spoken a lot before about specific books or series that impacted me growing up, but I also went through book phases. This is when I would read every book that fit into a specific genre or covered a specific subject matter. A few that I remember fondly from my elementary school days:
Nancy Drew: Yes, I know this is a series and I just said that I wasn’t going to talk about specific series, but I was truly obsessed with Nancy Drew books. I first got hooked on the series because there were a few random ones from the series that my mom had read as a little girl in our basement. After that, I read every single one our local library had, in numerical order, of course. I read them all…except one that was missing! The Mystery of Crocodile Island (#55) by Carolyn Keene alluded me until a friend of mine let me borrow her copy in ninth grade. It wasn’t quite the same as reading Nancy when I was ten, but it felt great to have competed the series and grow up with such an adventurous, smart girl.
Oregon Trail/Western homesteading books: Inspired by Little House on the Prairie, which my mom read to my sister and me, and the fantastic Oregon Trail computer game that every child of the 90's bemoans the loss of, I became obsessed with the Oregon Trail around third grade. My favorite books for this category, besides Little House of course, were Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison by Lois Lenski (written in my tiny hometown!), Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie: The Oregon Trail Diary of Hattie Campbell (Dear America), Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia Maclachlan and Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink. My boyfriend is from eastern Washington State (right on the Columbia River near Fort Walla Walla) and I’m still trying to convince him to let us try and ford the river at The Dalles in a Conestoga wagon with oxen.
Choose-Your-Own-Adventure: I’ve already shared my story of how the first book in this series, The Abominable Snowman by R.A. Montgomery, turned me into a reader. I loved how involved these books were, and I’d read and reread each adventure until I memorized which decisions I’d have to make to get to the conclusion I desired. They’re so fun!
Holocaust books: In fifth grade I became really interested in learning about the Holocaust. I read Number the Stars by Lois Lowry and The Endless Steppe: Growing Up in Siberia by Esther Hautzig. The book that had the biggest impact on me was The Diary of Anne Frank. I remember meeting individually with my fifth grade teacher to talk about our independent reading, and telling her snottily “I hear that 10th graders read this book, but I’m reading it now” look at how smart I am. Of course, my fifth grade self did not fully understand the significance of the diary or the horrors of the Holocaust, and I had reread the diary several times since then. I hope to visit the house where they hid in Amsterdam the next time I am in Europe.
Historical fiction: I can’t pinpoint a specific time period growing up when I was obsessed with historical fiction (besides the moments, above), because growing up historical fiction was just the genre of choice. I loved (and still love) it so much! My favorites including The True Confession of Charlotte Doyle by Avi (4th grade), The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (5th grade), and Lyddie by Katherine Paterson (6th grade).
So there you have my childhood book obsessions. Check out what others are saying and share yours!