Hello, Old Friends: 10 Books That Look Like Your Childhood

    These classics were there through thick and thin.

    Sometimes it’s nice to get back to your roots and remember the books that helped you to realize how much you love to read. Here are the ten books that will remind you of the good ol’ days of childhood—from Harriet the Spy’s tomato sandwiches to Anne of Green Gables’ bright red hair.


    Buy Anne of Green Gables at Amazon

    Anne of Green Gables

    Out of all our favorite childhood characters, Anne Shirley is perhaps the one we admire most and would like to be friends with in real life. Published in 1908 by L.M. (Lucy Maud, to fans) Montgomery, the six volume series tells the story of the red-headed orphan who is mistakenly adopted and brought to Green Gables. Since her creation, Anne has gone on to sell 50 million copies, be translated in 20 languages, and spurred multiple film and television adaptations, even a Japanese anime series. But to us she’ll always be Anne … of Green Gables, that is.

    Buy A Wrinkle in Time at Amazon

    A Wrinkle in Time

    By Madeleine L'Engle

    Madeline L’Engle’s 1963 novel broke barriers, combining the worlds of young adult literature and science fiction. Meg Murry is a smart and stubborn girl, determined to discover the reason behind her scientist father’s disappearance. She gets in over her head when she finds a tesseract—a wrinkle in time—that allows her to travel through time and space. Serious religious themes and ideas about nonconformity made A Wrinkle in Time one of the most challenged books according to the American Library Association; but, in our opinion, that’s what makes it worth reading. Be on the lookout for the new movie adaptation! 

    A Wrinkle in Time

    By Madeleine L'Engle

    Buy Charlotte's Web at Amazon

    Charlotte's Web

    By E.B. White

    Another tearjerker, Charlotte’s Web will undoubtedly be read to children for years to come as a ways of explaining the cycle of life through the spinning web of Charlotte and her piggy friend Wilbur. Inspired by a pig he once tried to save from the butcher’s block, Charlotte’s Web is now one of the most famous children’s books of all time. Though E.B. White was then known more for his essays, today Charlotte’s Web is by far his most famous book.

    Charlotte's Web

    By E.B. White

    Buy The Giving Tree at Amazon

    The Giving Tree

    By Shel Silverstein

    Nearly all of Shel Silverstein’s many books for children could go on this list, but we have a soft spot in our hearts for his 1964 book, The Giving Tree, which tells the story of a boy and his beloved tree. The tree gives and gives as the boy gets older; his demands grow greater, but no matter what, giving makes the tree happy. Though its meaning may be connected to the idea of environmental conservation with serious lessons about selflessness, all we know is that this book still makes us cry.

    The Giving Tree

    By Shel Silverstein

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    Buy Harriet the Spy at Amazon

    Harriet the Spy

    By Louise Fitzhugh

    If you are anything like us, you probably spent an entire summer (okay, year) of your life making tomato sandwiches and keeping tabs on everyone in your neighborhood in a spiral notebook—inspired by the precocious Harriet the Spy. Similarly to Where the Wild Things Are, Harriet’s escapades were first met with suspicion when the book was published in 1964. However, she has now come to represent a smart role model for young women everywhere.

    Harriet the Spy

    By Louise Fitzhugh

    Buy Matilda at Amazon

    Matilda

    By Roald Dahl

    We empathized with Matilda, the bookish heroine of Roald Dahl’s 1988 novel. Though we did wish we had telepathic powers like her when dealing with mean teachers and annoying classmates. Matilda drew the short stick when it came to her parents, but thanks to her kindred spirit and her teacher, Miss Honey, she becomes the best student in her class and finds a loving home.

    Buy Bridge to Terabithia at Amazon

    Bridge to Terabithia

    By Katherine Paterson

    If you’ve read Bridge to Terabithia, then you know what it is to ugly cry. This 1977 novel about two friends who create an imaginary world to escape all their troubles is a right of passage for all young readers—if you can continue on in life after reading its devastatingly sad (and shocking) ending. Bridge to Terabithia makes the final three Harry Potter books look like a walk in the park.

    Bridge to Terabithia

    By Katherine Paterson

    Buy The Giver at Amazon

    The Giver

    By Lois Lowry

    Lois Lowry’s 1993 novel was one of the most challenged books of the 1990s, despite it winning the Newbery Medal in 1994. The story of a dystopian society in which all emotional depth has been eradicated, Jonas, inspired by The Giver, decides to escape to a land called “Elsewhere,” where people live out their lives with the whole gambit of emotions. We remember carrying this book around like a nonconformist badge of honor from the school library, like “Oh, you’ve read The Giver? Then you know.”

    The Giver

    By Lois Lowry

    Buy Ramona Quimby, Age 8 at Amazon

    Ramona Quimby, Age 8

    By Beverly Cleary

    The Ramona Quimby novels had something to relate to whether you were, like Ramona, an annoying younger sibling, or like her older, more intelligent sister Beezus (wink). Ramona first appeared in 1955, and eight books followed. Both Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and and Ramona and her Father won Newbery Awards and Ramona and her Mother received the Nationa l Book Award.

    Ramona Quimby, Age 8

    By Beverly Cleary

    Buy Where the Wild Things Are at Amazon

    Where the Wild Things Are

    By Maurice Sendak

    Maurice Sendak’s 1963 children’s book has since become a modern classic, though at the time it was published it was considered highly controversial. Following a tantrum, Max runs away and finds himself in a land of monsters. Critics claim the book deals with the anger, sadness, and even the boredom of childhood. Whatever your interpretation, Where the Wild Things Are has been a consistent favorite of children and educators for over 50 years.

    Where the Wild Things Are

    By Maurice Sendak

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