I have always been an avid reader, but there were a few classic books I read as a kid that really peaked my interest. These are my favorite childhood reads to share. I know I can’t wait to share them with my own kids!
The Cay by Theodore Taylor
After the freighter he is traveling on to the U.S. is torpedoed, Phillip finds himself on a raft, blinded by a head injury, and traveling with a black man named Timothy. They become shipwrecked on an island and Phillip is forced to be reliant on Timothy due to his blindness. He soon learns that Timothy is not as different from him as he thought.
The Cay was one of my first introductions to books about war, survival, and racial tensions. It sets the stage for conversations about these important topics. Age recommendation: 8-12.
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
Sixteen very unlikely people meet for the reading of Samuel W. Westing’s will. They soon discover that he has left his fortune to a stranger and possible murderer.
I’m almost positive this was the book that jumpstarted my love for thrillers, mysteries, and true crime. “Clue” lovers will have fun reading this “who done it.” Age recommendation: 8-12.
Disclaimer: due to the large number of characters this can sometimes be a difficult read-a-loud.
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
The Tuck family accidentally stumbles upon a spring of water that grants them eternal life. Perpetually wandering, they seem to be making the best of their never-ending life until 10-year-old Winnie discovers their secret.
Tuck Everlasting was one of my absolute favorite reads when I was young. It introduces the idea of enjoying the moment and seeing the blessing in our limited time here on Earth. Age recommendation: 8-12.
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Jess Aarons has aspirations to become the fastest runner in his class. He is on pace to make that happen, until Leslie Burke joins the class. Despite the rivalry, they become quick friends and start creating their own, imaginary world called Terabithia. Jess’ world quickly changes when tragedy strikes in his real world.
Bridge to Terabithia was one of the first books that made me cry. It delves into first loves, friendship, tragedy, and loss. Age recommendation: 8-12.
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Wilbur the pig is the runt of the litter and is destined for slaughter. A young girl, Fern, first convinces farmer Zuckerman not to kill him, but it’s Wilbur’s friendship with the spider Charlotte that truly shows how special he is.
A classic novel of friendship, love, life and death. Age Recommendation: 5-8.
The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling
A twist on the legend of King Midas and his golden touch, John Midas discovers that everything his lips touch turns to chocolate.
I read this book in elementary school and loved how wacky it was. It introduces the idea of too much of a good thing. Age Recommendation: 8-12.
What were some of your favorite books as a child? Why were they meaningful to you?
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