My life and my thoughts - on faith, culture, politics, whatever comes to my mind

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Favorite children’s books

I have always loved reading and I guess that will never change. My parents used to read me lots of books and stories until I was able to read myself. When I think about my childhood days after school started, I mainly remember myself reading and reading. Already at that time I was a fast reader. I still am, so I always need new books to read. And I have always been interested in all kinds of books. I always wanted to read books (and actually did) that were for children older than I or on topics many people do not consider fit for a child. So already in an early age I read books – children’s novels – about the Nazi reign, the holocaust, child labor etc. But it has not harmed me. It made me aware of how the world really is and it gave me the ability to feel with others and care about what’s going on early in my life. But of course I’ve read fun novels and children’s detective stories and poems and and and... So I thought I’d share some of my many favorites here. I actually still read (good) children’s books. Very relaxing after a hard day of work :) . So here are some suggestions:

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1. Almost everything written by Astrid Lindgren (my favorite author). She is a Swedish author, born in a little village and later living in Stockholm (died a few years ago). Her books are a wonderful mixture of joy and sorrow, fun and work. “Her” children are not superficial, always happy characters, but got real depth and character. My favorites from her books: The Brothers Lionheart – a story about brotherly love, about courage, about loss, about freedom. Mio, My Son – a book with similar topics: parental love, friendship, freedom, helping others, overcoming fear and just lots of fun. Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter – lots of fun, overcoming fear, overcoming prejudices, life in the woods, reconciliation. All this sounds kind of very moral books, but believe me, they’re plain fun and adventure too! And then of course her children’s detective story: Bill Bergson, master detective (three volumes). I got that from my sister for Christmas just two or three years ago, cause I like it so much :)

2. Almost all children’s books by Erich Kästner, a German writer. Real good children’s detective story in Emil and the Detectives, situated in Berlin in the early 20th century. Also great: The Flying Classroom. The story is situated in a boarding school for boys. It’s about boarding school life, friendship and courage. One of the favorites of Markus (my beloved). Two more: The little man – about the adventures of a boy who is so small that he can sleep in a match box – and Lisa and Lottie. Identical twin girls get separated through their parents’ divorce while still babies and meet on a summer camp. They switch homes without telling their parents and try to reconcile them.

3. The four books about the March family by Louisa M. Alcott (Little Women, Good Wives, Little Men and Jo’s Boys) as well as Eight Cousins and An Old-fashioned Girl.

4. All the Anne of Green Gables books.

5. The whole Little House series (still love them, always wish my beloved could take me on a buggy ride :)).

6. The Children’s detective stories by Enid Blyton. I always wonder if she did anything else except writing ... My favorite was the Adventure Series (I really recommend those!). I also enjoyed the Famous Five and the Mysteries Series. She wrote girl’s books too. I’ve read both the Twins Series and Mallory Towers (about girls at British boarding schools).

7. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. Although personally I recommend starting with the second volume, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It’s just so much more exciting that the first. The first is more to complete the series.

I’ll stop here, though I could go on for quite a while... Maybe I’ll post some more another time. I hope this brought back some memories for you as well. And maybe some recommendations to stack up your own children’s books supplies.