Can you pick your Top Ten from the list?
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This is a bit of a hard one for me, to just stop at ten, but I thought it might be an interesting exercise. These some of the ones I remember fondly for one reason or another.
1.Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
3.The Fellowship of the Ring
4.The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe
6.James and the Giant Peach
8.Looking for Alibrandi
9.To Kill a Mocking Bird
2. The Story of Babar
3. The Velveteen Rabbit
4. Charlotte's Web
5. A Christmas Carol
6. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
7. Little Women
9. The Dark is Rising
10. Number the Stars
As you can see, though, the problem with using adult appeal as a criterion is that it skews the list towards books for older children. I tried at first to pick two from each age range, thinking that would be more objective, but I just wasn't happy with the results there, either. I wonder if school-aged children don't also have fonder memories of books they've read on their own than things they had read to them before they learned to read, thinking that those books are somehow just "baby" books.
Books I remember fondly from childhood, many of which work well also when I have returned to them as an adult:
1. Uppo-Nalle (my favorite books when I had just learned to read)
2. Petit Nicolas (again, loved these when I was 8-10, and they still hold up well)
3. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (my favorite Narnia book)
4. Gaston (a good contender for the best comic ever...and I have read lots of comics)
5. Ronia, the Robber's Daughter (like Narnia, these Lindgren fantasy books have other layers recognized better by adults...)
6. The Dark Is Rising (I wonder if I dare to reread these as an adult, they had a huge impact when I was a kid)
7. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole (again a book with weird double exposure...do you relate to Adrian or do you see him objectively? Works both ways)
Books I read as adult and thus have no idea how they would have worked as a child...but they are great:
8. The Sword in the Stone
9. The Nonexistent Knight
10. When the Wind Blows
Mr Gumpy's Outing
Each Peach Pear Plum
Good Dog, Carl
The Story of Ferdinand
The Little House (the Virginia Lee Burton one, NOT Laura Ingels Wilder!)
Morris's Disappearing Bag
The Magic Pudding
Caps for Sale
Blueberries for Sal
Doctor De Soto
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse
The Little White Horse
James and the Giant Peach
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret
The Shrinking of Treehorn
I didn't really note much in the 12+ category. Many of those I read in earlier years at school (or my daughter did). I started reading adult books at 13, so I'm not sure that this category is even necessary (although there are more YA books now than ever before).