I have lots of favorite children's books that were read to me, but the books that I hold most dear are MY books. The books I chose and read on my own, the stories that stuck in my head for a days, weeks, even years after I read them. There is nothing more magical than picking out a book on your own as a kid and loving it.
These are my books:
The Mystery at Snowshoe Mountain Lodge By Lisa Eisenberg
So, I used to do this thing where I would walk around, pretending that my life was a book that was unfolding in my head. For instance, someone in my family might see me walking up the stairs, but what they didn't know was that, in my mind, I was actually ascending a grand staircase of a mansion. Or, when I was doing the dishes, I was actually a scullery maid. After I read this book, I spent a lot of time pretending that my house was a mysterious ski lodge. My family just thought I was watching t.v. on the couch. They just didn't know I was warming up after a harrowing day on the slopes.
I think it was the description of the old, castle-like ski lodge and all of the ghostly, mysterious happenings that occurred there that sucked me in. The official review on Amazon said that the main character was poorly developed, but that didn't seem to bother me, as I checked this book out of the local library probably ten times. And the story still thrilled me long after I knew that it was just a disgruntled ski employee orchestrating all the pranks.
Encyclopedia Brown Series By Donald J. Sobol
My cousin, Jennifer, introduced me to these books. When I would spend the night at her house, we would read together in bed at night--Encyclopedia Brown and Two Minute Mysteries being frequent choices. I admired how smart he was and how he could always wrap up a case, neat and tidy, just how I liked it.
Eaton Stanley and The Mind Control Experiment By David A. Adler
I admit that it was the title that drew me in on this one. Mind control experiments? Yes, please. I can actually remember that exact spot in my school library where I found it. The story is about this weird kid (of course, he's weird, his name is Eaton Stanley!) who tries to influence people in his life through said experiments. And, it actually works! Too well, in fact. If I remember correctly, their teacher almost dies! Yikes! I wish I could remember more of the experiments, but I do recall that he influenced his mom into buying him something by placing pictures of the item in strategic places, like taped to the refrigerator. I always wanted to try that.
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler By E.L. Konigsburg
This is another book that sparked my imagination. I thought that spending the night in a museum would be the most awesome thing ever! And so was the name Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler! This book gave me the idea of trying to stay the night in my local library. I had it all planned out: I would just sit on a toilet until closing time, when I would emerge with my sleeping bag and book bag, ready to spend the night reading.
When I later worked at the library during high school, I was disappointed to discover that this plan would have never worked.
Taffy Sinclair Series By Betsy Haynes
Taffy Sinclair! That brat! She was the character that you just loved to hate. She was always making trouble for The Fab Five (the coolest group of friends ever to hit upper elementary school). I mean, who did she think she was flaunting her acting career and bunny fur jackets around school? Seriously.
The Fabulous Five in Trouble By Betsy Haynes
Speaking of The Fab Five, I purchased this one at the school book fair. And, it was a SUPER EDITION, meaning that it was twice as long! It was sure a nail-biter, though. Would the girls ever be able to make up after their fights? The best part of this book was when the girls have a sleepover where they all have the exact same dream. How cool is that? I always wanted that to happen to me and my friends at a sleepover. Unfortunately, it never did, to my knowledge.
The Great Mom Swap By Betsy Haynes
Clearly, I was Betsy Haynes' greatest fan, but this was my favorite of her books. Two friends, who are annoyed with their moms, think that the grass will be greener on the other side and switch houses. I bought this book at Waldenbooks in the mall with some birthday money, so when I was finished, I lent it to my neighbor across the street. When she finished reading it, she raced over to my house with the great idea that we should do the same thing that the girls did in the book.
"Ummm....I'm not sure....I'll have to check with my mom first," I stammered.
I immediately ran to my mom and begged her to say no. To which, she promptly answered, "Of course you're not doing that!"
I think she was just as terrified at the prospect as I was.
Have You Seen Hyacinth Macaw? By Patricia Reilly Giff
There used to be some show on PBS where an author would read part of their book, while the illustrator drew the action as they went. Whatever this show was, it was how I first heard of this book. It sounded frightening! I had to have it! The main character had the most thrilling time trying to figure out the mystery of who Hyacinth Macaw was. Chasing people on subways, breaking into abandoned apartments--there is some serious action in this book. I will say, that after all that, when Hyacinth Macaw turned out to be a bird, I was kinda annoyed.
The Nancy Drew Files By Carolyn Keene
Because I had read all of the original Nancy Drews, I loved these more modern-seeming Case Files. That Nancy was just the luckiest girl ever! Why couldn't I travel the world alone solving mysteries? Hmmph! I guess reading about it was the next best thing.
The only thing I never understood was why Nancy always looked slightly different on every cover.
Secret of the Andes By Ann Nolan Clark
I wanted this to be one of my favorite books ever. I brought it home from my fifth grade classroom five different times. I mean, I loved books with secrets in them, and the Andes sounded like a mysterious place. Apparently, it had even won an award. But, alas, I could never get into it, so I can't tell you what that secret was.