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Once Upon a Time.....

Today is International Children's Book Day. Not coincidentally, it is also the birthday of Hans Christian Andersen.

I had a volume of fairy tales when I was young; a vast collection of hard cover books that I could eventually recite by heart. One of the books (it had a green cover with gold leaf lettering) contained nothing but Hans Christian Andersen stories. My favorites were The Little Match Girl, The Red Shoes, The Tin Box and The Snow Queen. I especially loved The Snow Queen - which I read one winter's night when it was cold and blizzardy outside - and to this day I remember the pure angst I felt for Gerda and everything she went through to find her friend, and the pure faith she had that he was not dead. And now, reading the Tinder Box, I can remember exactly what I imagined the dog with the large eyes to look like - it's a bit strange to have such a vivid memory of something that existed only in your imagination.

Anyhow, in honor of Hans's birthday and Children's Book Day, some lists. Of course, I'd like to see yours.

Favorite books I read as a child that I have read over and over again into adulthood:

  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
  • Half-Magic (and other books in the series) by Edgar Eager
  • The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  • The Witch Family by Eleanor Estes
  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
  • Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
  • The Pigman by Paul Zindel
  • The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
  • How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
  • The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
  • The Encyclopedia Brown Series by Donald J. Sobol
  • Clues in the Woods (and others in that series) by Peggy Parish
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

Children's books I read as an adult and enjoyed

  • The Series of Unfortunate Event books by Lemony Snicket
  • His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman
  • Holes by Louis Sachar
  • Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman (which I reviewed here)
  • Silent to the Bone by E. L. Konigsburg

Books I have enjoyed reading with or to my kids

  • The Day I Swapped my Dad For Two Goldfish by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean
  • The Captain Underpants Series by Dav Pilkey
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr.
  • Owen by Kevin Henkes
  • The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg(anything by Van Allsburg is good)
  • Strega Nona by Tomie De Paola
  • Strange Stories for Strange Kids by Art Spiegelman
  • The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by John Scieszka
  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  • Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
  • Tuesday By David Wiesner

I'm sure I'll add to the list as I think of more. Please, make your own.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Once Upon a Time.....:

» The Magic of Books from Mama Write

Today, the Washington Post observes Hans Christian Anderson's literary influence in conjunction with International Children's Book Day. Also for today, Michele observes her favorite children's books and asks others to share the same. ...

[Read More]

» Pffft from Cake Eater Chronicles
I am hereby announcing I am taking Saturday and Sunday off. I know you really don't want or need to hear it; that my time is my own, etc. Yeah. Ok. That's all well and good but I've noticed a... [Read More]

» Kid books! from Darleen's Place
In honor of International Children's Book Day Michele offers up her fave kid reads and is happy to take suggestions in the comments. I am loving reading the lists because sometimes I remember the stories I've read while having a... [Read More]


A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle
The Tripods Trilogy, by John Christopher.

And I remember the unexpurgated 19th century edition of the Grimm Brothers Tales my grandfather gave me. "The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf" is nightmare-inducing.

I was obviously more than a girly girl reader than you....

Harriet the Spy!

And the Little Women books and the Little House books -- just because Hollywood has done their gooey versions, shouldn't make us forget they started out as great books.

A couple of Judy Blumes: "Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret?" and "Blubber"

Less girly: Catcher in the Rye

I always like Frog and Toad, and then when I was a little older, all the Nancy Drew books.


Books I have enjoyed reading with or to my kids:

White Rabbit's Color Book
Hondo and Fabian
Click Clack Moo

We <3 the school's Scholastic book clubs.

Ah, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. I had that when I was a tot, favorite book, right next to Where the Wild Things Are.

My favorites were the Great Brain series of books along with those by John Bellairs (The House with the Clock in its Walls, et. al.). I was ravenous with these. Whenever my grandfater came to visit, he'd take each of us kids to the bookstore to pick out a book. It was heaven.

My Christmas wish list, as a child and as an adult, has always been about 80% books and 20% other stuff, so I'll warn you that even when I severely narrow the list, it's long...

Favorite books I read as a child that I have read over and over again into adulthood:

  • The Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
  • Adopted Jane by Helen Fern Daringer
  • Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
  • At the Sign of the Golden Anchor by Ruth Langland Holberg
  • Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney (and the sequels)
  • All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor (and the sequels)
  • Any of the Trixie Belden Mysteries by Julie Campbell
  • Any of the Nancy Drew Mysteries by Carolyn Keene
  • Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
  • The Bobbsey Twins series by Laura Lee Hope
  • The original Grimm's Fairy Tales

Children's books I read as an adult and enjoyed:

  • Any Harry Potter Book, by JK Rowling
  • The Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  • The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien
  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Books I have enjoyed reading with or to kids:

  • Many of the books in the other categories, above
  • Anything by Chris Van Allsburg book
  • Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
  • Anything by Dr. Seuss
  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

(Although I don't have kids of my own, I was a nanny, a substitute teacher, a elementary school level reading teacher, a tutor, and I'm an auntie and older cousin to a giggling flock of girly-girls, ranging from 1 year to 15 years old, and ad-hoc auntie to any number of friends' kids, so there's no way I can list all the books I've enjoyed reading to kids...there are just too darned many)

Well, among some that I've recently repurchased:

Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series (5 books)
Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain series (5 books)
Lloyd Alexander's Westmark trilogy
Ursula K. LeGuin's Wizard of Earthsea trilogy (Tehanu never happened. Do you hear me? Never!)
Daniel M. Pinkwater's 5 Novelscollection.

How about "The Pushcart War" by Jean Merrill (I think?)

Good book as a kid and an adult.

I was a big fan of the The Dark is Rising series in elementary school (well, that and the Choose Your Own Adventure Books, of which I still have a big box tucked away).

Oooo...I like this post and these comments. Very fun.

My favorite book as a girl was "Where The Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak. I also loved "From the Mixed Up Files...", by Koningsburg, "Little Women" was another beloved book of my youth.

Allison! I'd almost forgotten Harriet the Spy! Tomato sandwiches, heh.

So many books I've read have already been listed here, so I'll add one of my faves not yet mentioned.

The Black Stallion by Walter Farley

I was about 10 when I first read it and I was already pestering my parents about getting a horse (never did, but I did a lot of riding through Girl Scouts). I went on and read all of Farley's sequels to the book, too.


And I was a big fan of Nancy Drew, too!

Nancy Drew series.
The Narnia Chronicles
Trixie Belden - passed down from my mother.
Enid Blyton's - Famous Five, Secret Seven, the Faraway Tree stories, and others (passed down from my dad)
Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books - I was addicted to these.
RL Stine books
Judy Blume books - all of them

When i was being read to by my parents: The Sword in the Stone (over and over and over again)
Little golden books

Books I'm kind of ashamed to admit to reading in high school:
Sweet Valley High books
Does anyone remember those horribly corny teen books of the 70s and 80s that were teen romance books - they were a series of different stories in a series of books - sweethearts or sweet-something or other books?

The tripods!! I remember seeing a british TV series a long time agao of that book series. I meant to read them and forgot to.

Screw all this "Boxcar Children" and and "Five Little Peppers" sh1t. Ramona fuxing RULES!!!!!
(Beverly Cleary)

And because YOU ARE SUCH A RETARD to miss this I'm assuming you probably can't read, so you should listen to the Books on Tape version with Stockard Channing, which totally fuxing ROCKS.

So READ RAMONA, you limp wristed sissies, and get back to me. (inspired by Ace's thread)

Ender's Game!!

And, I loved "The Dark is Rising" series. All time fav.


,if you can't figure out how to find the most excellent books ever. I personally preferred "Remembrance of Things Past" as a child :)

Dave? Need some Ritalin, buddy?

Boxcar Cildren and Encyclopedia Brown. Those were my childhood right there. i had the first 21 or so BC books, adn read each of them at last 5 times.

Mystery Behind the Wall. Every time i read it, i hoped they'd find a dead body with the other stuff. :-D

and EB might be why i love the Toon Disney show Filmore! Noir, pop culture and hard boiled cop 'Dramedy' disguised as a middleschool safety patrol. I love it.


Ritalin,huh? Yeah, sure, send me some.

I don't care if the Ingalls lived a hard life,
Ramona and Beezus could smack down Laura and her blind sister any day.

Mano a mano.

Just sayin'

And I'm serious about listening to those books on tape. Go RIGHT NOW to the library and get them.

You'll thank me later.

I don't care if the Ingalls lived a hard life, Ramona and Beezus could smack down Laura and her blind sister any day.

Yea, but could they take on Nellie Oleson?

See, the Ingalls girls would have to bring in outside help. But Ramonas could probably enlist Henry and Ribsy.

Now, I don't mean for this thread to turn into a Ramona Quimby vs. Laura Ingalls flame war. I can't imagine anything like that happening on the internet, which of course is the modern day equivalent of a sewing circle or quilting bee.

But you know, Laura thought listening to Pa scratching on his fiddle was the bee's knees. And Ramona, on the other hand was rockin' to Elvis.

Cite? I dont need no stinking cite!

You totally evaded the question, Dave.

Could Ramona and/or Beezus take on Nellie Oleson?

Nellie Oleson has BIG MONEY interests behind her. That's not fair.

Thinking about it some more, I think Ramona COULD take Nellie as long as it wasn't near the store.

And I'm sure Nellie would be too scared to show her face anywhere near Klickitat Street.

Now, I'll bet you trot out Veruca Salt (Willie Wonka), tough guy.

And by the way, I might as well mention that "Goodnight Moon" has NO PLOT.

I'll put my 2 cents in for "Home for a Bunny"

I grabbed my camera and took a pic of my girls' book cupboard. They have more than 200 of the Goosebumps series by RL Stine.

Remember how there was a "controversy" over kids reading them?


From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Oh, I could read that again now even. I wanted to live in a museum like that.

I liked Beezus and Ramona too, but, ah, probably not as much as Dave does. I liked any Cleary books--Henry Huggins, Otis Spofford, they were all good.

The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene Dubois is one I never owned, but checked out from the library over and over again. I just looked it up on Barnes and Noble, and the description is all wrong: "Tells what happens to a bored old mathematician when he takes a trip across the Pacific Ocean in a balloon." No, no, NO. That's like saying A Wrinkle in Time tells what happens when three bored kids meet up with three strange old ladies.

"The Little Princess"
"Where the Wild Things Are"
"What the Witch Left"
"Island of the Blue Dolphin"
"The Blue Sky"
"Nancy Drew..."
"Twelve Dancing Princesses"
"The Silver Skates"
"The Red Shoes"

Can't believe I forgot...
"Harold and the Purple Crayon" and
"The Little Prince"

I always liked "Number the Stars" by Lois Lowry.

Always have, always will love "Where the Wild Things Are". My daughter, a wizened age of 7, doesn't like it. We just had a book fair at her school and I almost bought myself another copy of "The Chronicles of Narnia". Loved Nancy Drew early on, then switched to Ian Fleming as a teen. Go fig...

Noel Streatham books.
"Farmer Boy" (my favorite Laura Ingalls Wilder book, about her husband's upstate NY childhood)
Calico Captive by Elizabeth George Spear

My eleven-year-old loved "The Thief Lord" and "Inkheart" (Ursula Funke).

"The Dark Is Rising". Oh man, that is too much. I spent an unsettling amount of time as a 13 year old trying to teach myself Cymraeg as a result...

y maent yr mynyddoedd yn canu, ac y mae'r argelwyddes yn dod

Late to the party, but here are the ones I read as a child and again as an adult have bought for more of our friends' children friends than I can count.

Where the Sidewalk Ends- Shel Silverstein
Uncle Shelby's ABZ book- Shel Silverstein
Leo the Late Bloomer- Robert Kraus
Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing- Judy Blume
In the Night Kitchen- Maurice Sendak

already listed:

Where the Wild Things Are
The Giving Tree

I saw only a passing mention of Roald Dahl, but every book he wrote was excellent. "Danny the Champion of the World" was my personal fave.

Also Julie Edwards (Andrews), yes the actress, wrote an excellent book called, "Last of the Really Great Wangdoodles."

Everything Daniel Pinkwater ever wrote.

I mean, dude, Avocados of Death.


Loved "Danny" it and "James and the Giant Peach" were to staples I read and re-read.