Don’t we all wish that we could pause time and rewind back to the days when we were children? Childhood was a time of pure innocence, joy and mischief; with no worries in the world, and nobody judging you for the things you did. It was pure bliss, a time we all have lost and will never get back.
Reading was my hobby even as a kid. I wasn’t an extroverted child, and enjoyed spending my time alone with my books. When all my friends used to go out, play, get dirty, I preferred staying indoors, lost in my world of books; my head filled with the vivid imagery of goblins, fairies, chocolate factories and enchantment.
This is why today I have decided to share with everyone what my favorite books as a child were:
1. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
Synopsis: When newly orphaned Mary Lennox arrives from India, everyone at Misselthwaite Manor thinks her a most disagreeable child. Then one day she finds a garden that has mysteriously been kept locked and hidden for ten years and, with the help of Dickon and her spoilt, invalid cousin Colin, brings the secret garden back to life.
‘The Secret Garden’ is still an absolute favorite of mine. F.H. Burnett has a wonderful method of storytelling, making this book a classic masterpiece. This book has the power to make you laugh and cry at the same time. I recommend it to all who have never read it.
2. The Famous Five Series – Enid Blyton
Synopsis: The novels feature the adventures of a group of young children – Julian, Dick, Anne and Georgina (George) – and their dog Timmy. The stories take place in the children’s school holidays after they have returned from their respective boarding schools. Each time they meet they get caught up in an adventure, often involving criminals or lost treasure. Sometimes the scene is set close to George’s family home at Kirrin Cottage in Dorset, such as the picturesque Kirrin Island, owned by George and her family in Kirrin Bay. George’s own home and various other houses the children visit or stay in are hundreds of years old and often contain secret passages or smugglers’ tunnels. In some books the children go camping in the countryside, on a hike or holiday together elsewhere. The settings, however, are almost always rural and enable the children to discover the simple joys of cottages, islands, the English and Welsh countryside and sea shores, as well as an outdoor life of picnics, lemonade, bicycle trips and swimming.
I expect almost everyone has read ‘The Famous Five’ series. I was a big fan of adventure when I was a child, and that is why I was so appealed by the book. I was a tomboy and loved to imagine myself as George. My friends and I would often go out in the backyard pretending to be the Famous Five and going on adventures.
3. Grimm’s Fairy Tales
Everyone used to love fairy tales as a child, be it the story of Cinderella, Snow White or Rapunzel. This book was the first one I had read when I learned to read properly, and the lovely tales are still etched on my mind till now. The stories became even better when they were brought to life by Disney…Who doesn’t like Disney movies?
4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
Synopsis: Nobody has seen Willy Wonka – or inside his amazing chocolate factory – for years. When he announces plans to invite the winners of five Golden Tickets hidden inside the wrappers of chocolate bars to visit his factory, the whole world is after those tickets!
Roald Dahl is my favorite author of all time. ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ is one of his most popular works. It is no doubt a timeless classic loved by children and adults alike.
5. The Faraway Tree series – Enid Blyton
Synopsis: The Enchanted Wood is the first of the Faraway Tree stories by the wonderful author Enid Blyton. The book is about three children, Jo, Bessie and Fanny, who move to the country and discover a magical place known as the Enchanted Wood with an enormous tree in the middle called the Faraway Tree. At the top of the tree there are different magical lands, which change all the time. The children have many adventures in the Faraway Tree and make lots of new friends.
I must admit that I was obsessed with this book at some point of time. I was especially fond of a certain character in the story, Silky the fairy who was kind to everyone and was really nice.
6. The Witches – Roald Dahl
Synopsis: The Witches is a popular children’s book written by Roald Dahl. In this book, a boy’s parents die in a car crash, so he goes to live in Norway with his grandmother. She tells him stories about witches, who have claws instead of finger nails, bald heads, large nose holes, square feet, and blue spit. The grandmother tells her grandson that all the stories are true and that he must be on the lookout for witches, who loathe children. Together, they encounter the witches while on a holiday and the story begins.
This book has a lot of twisted humor and dark elements in it, which is why it was an absolute favorite of mine. Although I did not understand some of the dark humor as a kid, on re-reading it as an adult I found it fascinating. The ending was not too happy (not a spoiler!)
7. Winnie the Pooh – A. A. Milne
Synopsis: “You’re the best bear in the world,” said Christopher Robin. “Am I?” said Pooh hopefully. Meet the world’s favorite bear in this delightful collection, in which Pooh gets into a tight place, nearly catches a woozle, and discovers the wrong sort of honey – amongst other things!
Winnie the Pooh is one of the most loved characters in children fiction. He was a undoubtedly a favorite of mine as well. The memories of his adventures with Christopher Robin, Piglet and Tigger bring back a cherished memory in my mind.
8. The BFG – Roald Dahl
Synopsis: The Big Friendly Giant is unlike other giants. For a start, he doesn’t like to eat people and it’s not long before he becomes orphan Sophie’s very best friend.
‘The BFG’ had a movie of the same name come out last year which brought out the element of the story very well. Roald Dahl’s wondrous storytelling and ‘phiz-whizzing’ plotline has made the book a timeless classic yet again.
9. The Wishing Chair Series – Enid Blyton
Synopsis: Mollie and Peter, searching for a birthday present for their mother, find a mysterious antiques shop which appears to be run by fairy folk. There, they find a magic Wishing-Chair with the power to grow wings and fly. After the chair rescues them from the shop, and gets them home, they decide to keep the chair in their playroom. On their first adventure, they rescue a pixie called Chinky from a giant. The pixie comes to live in their playroom, and the remainder of the book concerns the adventures of the children, as the chair takes them, and Chinky to various magical places.
Although I haven’t re-read the series, I do remember that it used to be an absolute favorite of mine. Mostly because as a child I was a big fan of Enid Blyton’s work and was into magical creatures.
10. Matilda – Roald Dahl
Synopsis: Matilda Wormwood is only five years old, but she is a genius. Unfortunately her parents are too stupid to even notice. Worse, her horrible headmistress Miss Trunchbull is a bully who makes life difficult for Matilda’s teacher, Miss Honey, and her friends. But what Miss Trunchbull doesn’t know is that Matilda has a trick or two up her sleeve…
‘Matilda’ is pretty popular now that it has a movie of the same name, but it was also another favorite of mine when I was a kid. I had always hoped to be like Matilda (I kind of was, because of her book-loving nature and know-it-all attitude!) but was envious of her telekinetic skills. Phew…Dreams sometimes do remain dreams.
Anyway, this was my full list of books I used to love as a kid. Hope you enjoyed it! Leave a comment down below telling me what your favorite books as a child were. Have a good day ahead!
[Coming up soon: Book review of ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ by Khaled Hosseini. Stay tuned!]