Top 5 Wednesdays is a hugely popular meme created and run by booktubers Lainey and Samantha. To participate, check out the GoodReads group here.
This week’s topic is: Children’s Books
I wanted to avoid the super famous children’s classics for this list, and instead include potentially lesser known books that I loved as a child. I think it would be impossible to choose my top favorite children’s books anyways. I have fond memories of all five of these- and now I’m feeling majorly nostalgic…
1. Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott
When Rose Campbell, a shy orphan, arrives at “The Aunt Hill” to live with her six aunts and seven boisterous male cousins, she is quite overwhelmed. How could such a delicate young lady, used to the quiet hallways of a girls’ boarding school, exist in such a spirited home? It is the arrival of Uncle Alec that changes everything. Much to the horror of her aunts, Rose’s forward-thinking uncle insists that the child get out of the parlor and into the sunshine. And with a little courage and lots of adventures with her mischievous but loving cousins, Rose begins to bloom.
I remember picking this book from my grandmother’s shelf one summer, and becoming immediately absorbed in Rose’s story. After reading Little Women, I was so happy to find another Alcott novel to love.
2. Mandy by Julie Andrews Edwards
The magic of finding a home Mandy, a ten-year-old orphan, dreams of a place to call her own. Escaping over the orphanage wall to explore the outside world, Mandy discovers a tiny deserted cottage in the woods. All through the spring, summer, and fall, Mandy works to make it truly hers. Sometimes she “borrows” things she needs from the orphanage. Sometimes, to guard her secret, she even lies. Then, one stormy night at the cottage, Mandy gets sick, and no one knows how to find her–except a special friend she didn’t know she had.
Yes, this utterly charming book is in fact written by that Julie Andrews. This is such a sweet, cozy story. Mandy is a read as delightful and effervescent as the author herself.
3. The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
The first time Melanie Ross meets April Hall, she’s not sure they’ll have anything in common. But she soon discovers that they both love anything to do with ancient Egypt. When they stumble upon a deserted storage yard behind the A-Z Antiques and Curio Shop, Melanie and April decide it’s the perfect sport for the Egypt Game.
Before long there are six Egyptians instead of two. After school and on weekends they all meet to wear costumes, hold ceremonies, and work on their secret code.
Everyone thinks it’s just a game, until strange things begin happening to the players. Has the Egypt Game gone too far?
I desperately wanted to be a member of the Egypt Game as a kid! I loved the combination of history, mystery, and friendship in this book.
4. A Ring of Endless Light by Madeline L’Engle
After a tumultuous year in New York City, the Austins are spending the summer on the small island where their grandfather lives. He’s very sick, and watching his condition deteriorate as the summer passes is almost more than Vicky can bear. To complicate matters, she finds herself as the center of attention for three very different boys.
Zachary Grey, the troubled and reckless boy Vicky met last summer, wants her all to himself as he grieves the loss of his mother. Leo Rodney has been just a friend for years, but the tragic loss of his father causes him to turn to Vicky for comfort—and romance. And then there’s Adam Eddington. Adam is only asking Vicky to help with his research on dolphins. But Adam—and the dolphins—may just be what Vicky needs to get through this heartbreaking summer.
This is a wonderful, bittersweet coming-of-age story. I reread this book countless times- it was one of my go-to summer reads. A Ring of Endless Light was extra appealing to me since I loved dolphins so much as a child.
5. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
Miyax, like many adolescents, is torn. But unlike most, her choices may determine whether she lives or dies. At 13, an orphan, and unhappily married, Miyax runs away from her husband’s parents’ home, hoping to reach San Francisco and her pen pal. But she becomes lost in the vast Alaskan tundra, with no food, no shelter, and no idea which is the way to safety. Now, more than ever, she must look hard at who she really is. Is she Miyax, Eskimo girl of the old ways? Or is she Julie (her “gussak”-white people-name), the modernized teenager who must mock the traditional customs? And when a pack of wolves begins to accept her into their community, Miyax must learn to think like a wolf as well. If she trusts her Eskimo instincts, will she stand a chance of surviving?
Miyax/Julie is such an inspirational heroine. I devoured this powerful tale of survival and self-discovery.
What are some of your favorite children’s books?