Well, I’m copying off Katherine this time...heh. (And her post isn’t even quite up yet!) Plus, I’m doing a similar topic for the next Thinklings newsletter next week—you can sign up here to read it—so I decided to whip up a quick nostalgic post for my blog, too.
Here are the top 3 (fantasy) books or series that influenced me as a child and a bit about them. I’ll go in chronological order.
1. No Flying in the House by Betty Brock
This is the first fantasy book I remember reading, if you don’t count the big board books of illustrated children’s fairy tales. I even remember that I got my copy from my older cousin Siri* more than 3 decades ago. (You can see that practically ancient copy in this video.) I have read it many times. As a little girl, I was fascinated by the tiny talking dog; the part where it says “If you can kiss your elbow, you’re a fairy” (sadly, I cannot, though I certainly tried hard to); and the setting: a grand old house atop a sloping terrace. I haven’t been to many fancy, luxurious places, and part of the fantasy for me was living in a place like that with servants and grand parties and all. You can probably guess that I also wished I was part fairy like Annabel. This book ignited my imagination, and I will always think of it fondly.
2. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Or perhaps I read these first? I don’t recall. No, I think I read Brock’s book first. Anyway, I was quite young when I read these with my mom. That’s not the only series we’ve read together.** I absolutely love having a reading buddy and someone I can talk to (for hours, if they let me!) about a book or series. These were also imagination-kindling books, even though parts of them were scary for little me. But they really grabbed me and of course I longed to escape into a magical world with talking animals. (Much better than school and bullies...) I even wrote a story with talking animals for an elementary school project!
3. The Hobbit and, just after, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
We did a unit on The Hobbit in seventh grade English class, which was great fun because we had an awesome teacher fresh out of college with almost as much energy as Steve Irwin. Mr. G had us do stuff like putting on a little play, acting out a scene of our choice. I think the one my group did involved a feast; I remember bringing in plastic food for props. Out of all of the group projects I had to do from K–12, that was the one I hated the least, haha. When I was about done reading the book, I discovered my parents owned the LOTR trilogy, and so I dived immediately into it after The Hobbit. I raced my friend to see who could finish the trilogy first, and I barely beat her. So I also had someone to bond with over those books, and their epic scale certainly worked at broadening my imagination. I was irrevocably in love with fantasy.
I know these books—well, #2 and #3—are basically The Generic Fantasy Books that everyone has/should read (before Harry Potter came along), but yeah. That’s how it went for me. I’m going to wrap this up here and get back to all the other work I’ve got right now! If you want to see some other books I could talk about fondly, watch the video I linked to above in #1.
What books did you love as a child?
*Yep, I’ve known that name all my life! My cousin had it before Apple Lady did, heh. Btw, it’s the Danish form of Sarah. Did you know you’ve been calling your iPhone assistant “princess”?
**We read the first 5 Percy Jackson books together, too, and loved them! I was an adult at that point.
Sarah Awa lives in Ohio with two hairy guys and writes books about werewolves.