The books listed below are just some of the few stories that I grew up on. These stories are what made me fall in love with reading. No matter how old you are there is still something to be learned from these books. Since I have so many titles on my list I am going to be doing this topic in two different parts. Here is part one:
1. To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee
- My all-time favorite novel. This book has shaped me into the person that I am today! I love you, Scout Finch!! Let me just gush over my favorite literary father, Atticus.
The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic. Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior - to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.
2. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
- I was first originally assigned to read this book the summer before junior year in high school for AP American Literature. This was one of the only reading assignments ever assigned to me that I breezed through. I laughed, I cried, and it easily became one of my all-time favorites. There is a reason why certain books are assigned for a reason. This is a pure masterpiece for any age!
The beloved American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness -- in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.
3. The Giver by Lois Lowry
- This book fascinated me when I was young. It is the novel that first introduced me into dystopian books. For a children's book the concept is phenomenal and really makes you think about life!
Twelve-year-old Jonas lives in a seemingly ideal world. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver does he begin to understand the dark secrets behind this fragile community.
4. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
- From the time I was a little girl, I absolutely fell in love with this story! I think all young girls should read this book. It's a must for growing up. It's like a right of passage.
Margaret Simon, almost twelve, likes long hair, tuna fish, the smell of rain, and things that are pink. She’s just moved from New York City to Farbook, New Jersey, and is anxious to fit in with her new friends—Nancy, Gretchen, and Janie. When they form a secret club to talk about private subjects like boys, bras, and getting their first periods, Margaret is happy to belong. But none of them can believe Margaret doesn’t have religion, and that she isn’t going to the Y or the Jewish Community Center. What they don’t know is Margaret has her own very special relationship with God. She can talk to God about everything—family, friends, even Moose Freed, her secret crush.
5. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate Di Camilo
- This has always been one of my favorites and has resonated with me to this day. I related so much to Opal growing up loving her dog. The book will tug on your heart and stick with you for a while.
Kate DiCamillo's first published novel, like Winn-Dixie himself, immediately proved to be a keeper—a New York Times bestseller, a Newbery Honor winner, the inspiration for a popular film, and most especially, a cherished classic that touches the hearts of readers of all ages. It's now available in a paperback digest format certain to bring this tale's magic to an even wider circle of fans. The summer Opal and her father, the preacher, move to Naomi, Florida, Opal goes into the Winn-Dixie supermarket—and comes out with a dog. A big, ugly, suffering dog with a sterling sense of humor. A dog she dubs Winn-Dixie. Because of Winn-Dixie, the preacher tells Opal ten things about her absent mother, one for each year Opal has been alive. Winn-Dixie is better at making friends than anyone Opal has ever known, and together they meet the local librarian, Miss Franny Block, who once fought off a bear with a copy of WAR AND PEACE. They meet Gloria Dump, who is nearly blind but sees with her heart, and Otis, an ex-con who sets the animals in his pet shop loose after hours, then lulls them with his guitar. Opal spends all that sweet summer collecting stories about her new friends and thinking about her mother. But because of Winn-Dixie or perhaps because she has grown, Opal learns to let go, just a little, and that friendship—and forgiveness—can sneak up on you like a sudden summer storm.
6. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia, #1) By C.S. Lewis
- Another right of passage. I don't think many people don't grow up not reading this book at one point or another in this day and age. It's a classic for a reason. One of the most magical stories you will ever read.
In the never-ending war between good and evil, The Chronicles of Narnia set the stage for battles of epic proportions. Some take place in vast fields, where the forces of light and darkness clash. But other battles occur within the small chambers of the heart and are equally decisive. Journeys to the ends of the world, fantastic creatures, betrayals, heroic deeds and friendships won and lost -- all come together in an unforgettable world of magic. So join the battle to end all battles. Narnia .... a land frozen in eternal winter ... a country waiting to be set free. Four adventurers step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia -- a land enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change ... and a great sacrifice.
7. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
- The one book that started it all. That's all I have to say about this treasure of a series that everyone should read at least once in their lives.
Harry Potter's life is miserable. His parents are dead and he's stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he's a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry. Though Harry's first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it's his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined. Full of sympathetic characters, wildly imaginative situations, and countless exciting details, the first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come.
8. Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
- My mom used to read this heartfelt book about growing up to my brother and I while growing up. One day, I will read it to my children. It still makes my mom cry.
An extraordinarily different story by Robert Munsch is a gentle affirmation of the love a parent feels for their child--forever. Sheila McGraw's soft and colorful pastels perfectly complement the sentiment of the book--one that will be read repeatedly for years.
9. Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
- This book reminds me of Benjamin Button but in Heaven. It's an extremely touchy story that has stuck with me since I read it when I was about 13.
Welcome to Elsewhere. It is warm, with a breeze, and the beaches are marvelous. It's quiet and peaceful. You can't get sick or any older. Curious to see new paintings by Picasso? Swing by one of Elsewhere's museums. Need to talk to someone about your problems? Stop by Marilyn Monroe's psychiatric practice. Elsewhere is where fifteen-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. But Liz wants to turn sixteen, not fourteen again. She wants to get her driver's license. She wants to graduate from high school and go to college. And now that she's dead, Liz is being forced to live a life she doesn't want with a grandmother she has only just met. And it is not going well. How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one? Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward? This moving, often funny book about grief, death, and loss will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.
10. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
- This book is a right of passage in any teens life. I freaking love it.
The hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days. The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it. There are many voices in this novel: children's voices, adult voices, underground voices-but Holden's voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain to, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep. J.D. Salinger's classic novel of teenage angst and rebellion was first published in 1951. The novel was included on Time's 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923. It was named by Modern Library and its readers as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. It has been frequently challenged in the court for its liberal use of profanity and portrayal of sexuality and in the 1950's and 60's it was the novel that every teenage boy wants to read.
11. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
- My dad used to read this book to my brother and I when we were little. He would drum on the book during the wild rumpus. I love this book so much.
One night Max puts on his wolf suit and makes mischief of one kind and another, so his mother calls him 'Wild Thing' and sends him to bed without his supper. That night a forest begins to grow in Max's room and an ocean rushes by with a boat to take Max to the place where the wild things are. Max tames the wild things and crowns himself as their king, and then the wild rumpus begins! But when Max has sent the monsters to bed, and everything is quiet, he starts to feel lonely and realizes it is time to sail home to the place where someone loves him best of all.
12. Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss
- This book is a classic. Every single person should read it. It's inspiring and oh so good at any age. It's a great book to read at any point in life if you need a pick me up.
For out-starting upstarts of all ages, here is a wonderfully wise and blessedly brief graduation speech from the one and only Dr. Seuss. In his inimitable, humorous verse and pictures, he addresses the Great Balancing Act (life itself, and the ups and downs it presents) while encouraging us to find the success that lies within us. And will you succeed? Yes! You will indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.) A modern classic, Oh, the Places You'll Go! was first published one year before Dr. Seuss's death at the age of eighty-seven. In a mere fifty-six pages, Dr, Seuss managed to impart a lifetime of wisdom. It is the perfect send-off for children starting out in the maze of life, be they nursery school grads or newly-minted PhD's. Everyone will find it inspired good fun.
13. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
- Another classic! If you haven't read the book that inspired the film you must. It's so much better and different. I still need to finish the series.
When Dorothy and her little dog Toto are caught in a tornado, they and their Kansas farmhouse are suddenly transported to Oz, where Munchkins live, monkeys fly and Wicked Witches rule. Desperate to return home, and with the Wicked Witch of the West on their trail, Dorothy and Toto - together with new friends the Tin Woodsman, Scarecrow and cowardly Lion - embark on a fantastic quest along the Yellow Brick Road in search of the Emerald City. There they hope to meet the legendary, all-powerful Wizard of Oz, who alone may hold the power to grant their every wish. Just as captivating as it was a hundred years ago, this is a story that all ages will love.
14. Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism by Georgia Byng
- I used to love this series when I was younger. One day I will have a pug named Petunia because of this novel. This book made me fall in love with pugs
Welcome to the Wonderful World of Hypnotism, Molly Moon is no ordinary orphan. When she finds a mysterious old book on hypnotism, she discovers she can make people do whatever she wants. But a sinister stranger is watching her every move and he'll do anything to steal her hypnotic secret...
15. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
- I love this book so much. It really shows you the importance of family and never giving up.
It was a dark and stormy night. Out of this wild night, a strange visitor comes to the Murry house and beckons Meg, her brother Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin O'Keefe on a most dangerous and extraordinary adventure - one that will threaten their lives and our universe. Winner of the 1963 Newbery Medal, A Wrinkle in Time is the first book in Madeleine L'Engle's classic Time Quintet.
There is part one for you of this series. Which books are your favorite from your childhood? Do we have any books in common? I would love to know in the comments down below. Stay tuned for part two!