I’ve always loved getting lost in a good book. And I’m loving that I now get to share my favourite childhood books with my own kids.
My eldest is almost 10 and is a huge fan of anything to do with Tom Gates, Captain Underpants and books by Pamela Buttchart. He is quite happy to read by himself, but it’s been a lovely bit of nostalgia to go back to the days of reading to him, and to the days of my own childhood.
These are some of the books I have been and hope to share with him.
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My Favourite Childhood Books…
Goodnight Mister Tom
The story of young Willie Beech, evacuated to the country as Britain stands on the brink of the Second World War. A sad, deprived child, he slowly begins to flourish under the care of old Tom Oakley – but his new-found happiness is shattered by a summons from his mother back in London. As time goes by Tom begins to worry when Willie doesn’t answer his letters, so he goes to London to find him, and there makes a terrible discovery.
This was my favourite childhood book. The story of a young evacuee sent to live with a reclusive old man during world war 2. It’s a really special story with drama, intrigue and sadness. But ultimately it’s an uplifting story.
I’m reading it to Big at the moment and we are both loving it. Although knowing what’s coming I am dreading the sad bits. It’s not a story for the feint hearted as it does tackle death, and neglect. But it also shows love and compassion and friendship.
Minty is the kind of girl who notices things. Pockets of cold air on a stairway. Cries on the wind. Ghosts.
On night-time jaunts from the house where she’s staying while her mother recovers from an accident, Minty stumbles upon a moondial which takes her back in time. She finds Tom, a sickly kitchen boy, and Sarah, a girl with a birthmark who is only allowed out at night because her family think she has the mark of the devil…
Can Minty save her friends, or will she get stuck in the past…?
This is the first experience I had of a book I had read being tuned into television series, where characters didn’t look quite the way I imagined! I loved this story but I do remember some bits being scary. Not sure Big would enjoy this one. He doesn’t enjoy being scared Like I used to!
Stig of the dump
Barney is a solitary little boy, given to wandering off by himself. One day he is lying on the edge of a disused chalk-pit when it gives way and he lands in a sort of cave. Here he meets ‘somebody with a lot of shaggy hair and two bright black eyes’ wearing a rabbit skin and speaking in grunts. He names him Stig. Of course nobody believes Barney when he tells his family all about Stig, but for Barney cave-man Stig is totally real. They become great friends, learning each others ways and embarking on a series of unforgettable adventures.
I read this to Big a few years ago. I remember when I read it never being sure if Stig was real, whether Barney had gone back in time, or whether Stig has travelled forward in time. Having read it again, I’m still not sure I know!
The Secret Garden
Mary Lennox has grown up in India, surrounded by colour and life, and people who always do exactly what she wants. When her parents die, she is sent to her uncle’s cold and lonely manor on the Yorkshire moors. There she finds the house and the gardens full of secrets. And unearthing them might just lead to the greatest discovery of all.
I loved this story but I think Big will take some convincing to read this one as it is based in the ‘olden days’! For me I think I will always remember Colin, Mary, and the secret garden. Another of my favourite childhood books by the same author was The Little Princess.
Matilda is the world’s most famous bookworm, no thanks to her ghastly parents. Her father thinks she’s a little scab. Her mother spends all afternoon playing bingo. And her headmistress, Miss Trunchbull? She’s the worst of all. She’s a big bully, who thinks all her pupils are rotten and locks them in the dreaded Chokey. Despite these beastly grownups trying to push her down, Matilda is an extraordinary girl with a magical mind. And she’s had enough. So all the terrible adults had better watch out, because she’s going to teach them a lesson they’ll never forget!
Who doesn’t love a good yarn by Roald Dahl. Matilda was always my favourite. I still remember unwrapping it on Christmas day. I think I had finished it by Boxing day!
We’ve read most of the Roald Dahl collection with Big and he has loved them as much as I did.
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
Long ago, at a time in history that never happened, England was overrun with wolves. But as Bonnie and her cousin Sylvia discover, real danger often lies closer to home. Their new governess, Miss Slighcarp, doesn’t seem at all nice. She shuts Bonnie in a cupboard, fires the faithful servants and sends the cousins far away from Willoughby Chase to a place they will never be found. Can Bonnie and Sylvia outwit the wicked Miss Slighcarp and her network of criminals, forgers and snitches?
Another story that I loved but found quite scary. It also seemed that I read a lot of books based in ‘olden times’.
Peter Hatcher’s little brother, Fudge, is four. And he’s as monstrous as ever! When Fudge discovers that his new baby sister can’t play with him, he tries to sell her. When that doesn’t work, he tries giving her away. And on his first day at school he kicks his teacher and calls her Rat Face. Can his big brother help him out this time?
This was the first book I read by Judy Blume. I read every book she wrote after reading this one. I think after all the books set in the past this book was completely on my level and one I could relate to. Judy Blume was the Tom Gates of my era. Show me a 40 year old that hasn’t read Forever. It was where most of us got our sex education.
I’m holding off on sharing this one just yet because this is also the book that confirmed my suspicions that Father Christmas was not real.
What were your favourite childhood books?
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