Aug 20, 2015
Favorite Books: The Teenage, Middle School Years
Josephina, American Girl 1824
I think I liked her the most because she looked like an Indian and hey, what midwest girl who grew up watching John Wayne and westerns with her daddy doesn't want to be an Indian? But as I grow up and reread I find some resemblances between Josephina and I. Things that maybe I sympathized with subconsciously. How she's this shy little girl who wanted to learn to write and decided to be brave?
The Adventures in the Northwoods
The Riverboat Adventures (republished as Freedom Seekers Series)
The Viking Quest Series
- by Lois Walfrid Johnson
Ultimate girlhood favorite series, here. Recommended to any girl who loves historical fiction, adventure, and mysteries! Lovingly crafted coming of age stories.
Christy, by Catherine Marshall.
It took me a month to read this book, and when I finished I felt a little lost. Why is the rogue, rough male protagonist always so fascinating.
Caddie Woodlawn, Carol Ryrie Brink
Yup, another tom boy who fed my love of outdoors and doing boy things. I had this one read to me by my history loving parents, and I've seen the movie, but I've never actually read the book. More's the pity. I love this story
Baby Island, Carol Ryrie Brink
Babies and little girls stranded on an island with a retired pirate and his parrot. Also had this book read to me. Favorite character: Jean. Favorite Jean quote: "Just one darn thing after another!"
Trixie Belden, Kathryn Kenny
My mom and her sister's read them. My big sister read them out loud to us little kids. And I now I read them. Not only because they're part of my mother's childhood and mine(which makes them all the more special) but because Jim, Trixie, and Honey and the rest of the Bob Whites are just pretty much my favorite people. Of course, I've read all the old 1970s and 80s editions of the books, but the new, hardbacks are filled with old illustrations which make them entirely worth it!
Mandy, Julie Andrews Edwards
Also read to me. Then read it again to myself. Twice. Instant cure for the adulthood blues.
Blue Willow, Doris Gates
Another of those "mother and daughter both loved it" books. A little girl growing up during The Great Depression clings to the hope of her family's heirloom, a Blue Willow plate. The Great Depression time period . . . goodness.
The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
My sister and I, one day in early fall, we make a pie, we make tea, set out the cream and sugar, and we watch the animated film of this book. It's like the beginning of autumn celebration for us. But nothing ever compares to the book.
The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton
Admittedly watched the movie before reading the book, but the movie so closely resembles the book anyway. Would recommend to 16-year-olds and up. I love this book. S.E. Hinton and I are on the same page loving outcasts and music-makers.
Louis L'Amour westerns
Yes, another tradition passed from parent to child who loves them as much as her parents did.
Some of my favorites include:
The Day Breakers
The Shadow Riders
Bowdrie - Besides Tell Sackett Bowdrie is my favorite Louis L'Amour character.
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
I found out I couldn't write my magnum opus after I read this, because it had already been written. To Kill a Mockingbird is the book I've wanted to write.
The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis
Yup, no list of books is complete without Narnia.
The Giver, by Lois Lowry
My dear friend Kelsey sent me a copy and I actually read it years before the movie came out! I loved it so much. It's about a boy who finds colors in a black and white world. It's about more than that, like how pain and love and feelings are such violently necessary pieces of this world we cannot live fully without them.
Sarah, Plain and Tall, by Patricia MacLachlan
The other magnum opus that had already been written. This series is on my Always and Forever Edition of favorite books . . . the ones I read just because I love them.
Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery
Also on my Always and Forever Edition. Because Anne and islands and Avonlea and I? We can never be parted.
Jane of Lantern Hill, by L.M. Montgomery
After reading the book I loved it ten times more than the movie. The movie still has it's merits, specifically because of the haunting mists and story of Evelyn, and all the Avonlea people riddled throughout. And her father is a writer. Who wouldn't love moving in with a writer in a house with a view of the sea?
A Long Way From Chicago #1
A Year Down Yonder #2
A Season of Gifts #3
On the Wings of Heroes
Here Lies the Librarian
The Teacher's Funeral
by Richard Peck
I should have put Richard Peck's historical fiction on my Always and Forever Edition. I really should have. I was telling a friend how much his fiction resonated with me, made me laugh and love them all the more, but I could hardly find the words! His way with words has the immaculate ability to sing me into the pages of his world with little to no resistance whatsoever. He makes the ordinary and uninteresting extraordinary and very interesting! My favorite character has got to be Grandma from A Long Way From Chicago series.
Pollyanna, by Eleanor H. Porter
If you loved the movie, you'll love the book. And there's also a British movie adaption of the book which is quite a lot more accurate to the book than the Disney version. But I love them both. And the book!
The Witch of Blackbird Pond, by Elizabeth George Speare
Read aloud to me also, but read on my own, too. For school. But oh, school was so wonderful when it came to literature! It's about a girl from Barbados who goes to live in New England before the American Revolution with very strict, Puritan relatives. But there's a sailor boy called Nat and a Quaker woman, who is of course the witch. But actually it has nothing to do with witches. It's historical fiction and mentions a little of the Salem Witch Trials, I believe.
The Queen's Thief Series, by Megan Whalen Turner
Ah! My favorite fantasies besides Narnia and Lord of the Rings. Political intrigue, wars, gods and goddesses, a thief, his queen, and how be becomes king. Based on Greek Mythology.
The Litte House on the Prairie Series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
If you ask my mother she'll tell you stories about how she came to read Laura Ingalls as a girl. Their one room school house only had one book shelf, but every week or so the books would be exchanged and there she found Laura Ingalls who would follow her for the rest of her life. She passed her love for the books on to us and I can safely say my childhood would not be complete without Laura Ingalls Wilder.
The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
I have quite a difficult time recommending this book to just anyone. I would recommend the movie before the book, mostly because there is considerably less swear words. But the book is so much more than the movie and I am very torn! The movie does sum up the book in a very lovely, heart-breaking way, but as always the book(minus the shameless amount of swearing) is much better than the movie.
Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbit
Quite possibly the sweetest, most horribly wonderful, subtle love story ever. Natalie Babbitt's writing rivals Lois Lowry and Patricia MacLachlan in beauty and truth, in my opinion.
Persuasion, by Jane Austen
Am I allowed to say I love this better than Pride and Prejudice? P&P is wonderful! And if I had to pick a romance author it would be Jane Austen. But Anne and Captain Wentworth? They just resonate more with me.
Well. Now that's said, I'm going to go and make a great pile of these books and spend the rest of my summer(and autumn) . . . and winter, and spring, and the entire next summer rereading them. Sigh. Bliss. I am thoroughly inspired to have a Sarah, Plain and Tall party now before summer ends officially. One last hurrah for a summer?
I hope this has perhaps given you some new reading material. I highly recommend you buy an actual copy of each book. Because tangible, touchable things are losing their importance and who cares anyway if you have twelve bookcases to move when you sell your house? You've got something and you can't loose them on the world of cyberspace and internet or when your Kindle or computer crashes. There is a magic in books Kindle can never recreate.
K.M. Updike writes young adult and historical fiction and has a frustrating fascination with fantasies that gets in the way a lot. She is the author of the young adult historical fiction novelette, The Life and Death of Terry Dodd. A lover of books and prairies, she lives with her five siblings and inspiring parents in the wilds of the Great Plains. Besides reading books and writing stories, she loves watching old movies and drinking tea in her basement room dubbed "Mole End."