It’s Read Across America Day, also known as Dr. Seuss’s birthday, and I thought I’d share some of my favorite books from when I was a kid. I’ve been reading since I was about three, but there are some books that stand out, even more than 20 years later. Even if you’re an adult, you may still have fun reading these!
This was hands down my favorite book. Probably still is (and yeah, I will be rereading this soon, I think). I’m fuzzy on the details of the storyline but essentially it’s a young girl who ends up stranded alone on an island and has to learn to survive and raise herself there. She was isolated from humans, but learned to befriend the wildlife, and to find strength in herself. If I remember correctly (and I have a wicked memory), it was amazingly well-written, beautiful and emotional, and inspiring. Every child and adult should read this at least once in their life.
If Ulape and my father had come back and laughed, and all the other had come back and laughed, still I would have felt the same way, for animals and birds are like people, too, though they do no talk the same or do the same things. Without them the earth would be an unhappy place.Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
This is still one of my favorites. Shel Silverstein is such a talented poet, and this book is wonderful for helping kids get interested in poetry. When I was in the nurse’s office every week during fourth and fifth grade, this was my comfort book as I tried to ride out my asthma and my cramps. I also appreciated that the poems aren’t all light and rainbows – they tend to have a dark nuance, just a little bit, which makes them all the more relatable.
My elbow’s bent, my spine ain’t straight
My temperature is one-oh-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear
There is a hole inside my ear.“Sick” – Shel Silverstein
Is there anyone out there who hasn’t read Charlotte’s Web yet? I used to like this book (even though I don’t like spiders), and it’s a classic for a reason. Sweet, sad, and heartfelt, this book is an emotional rollercoaster.
She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
This is the first book I ever remember reading. I was about 3 or 4, it was Christmas time, and I was hiding behind the Christmas Tree, sitting against the railing (we had a three level house), reading past my bedtime by string lights. The book is about making your dreams come true, not giving up, and not being afraid to stand out – all concepts that transcend time.
There is nothing in all the world I like better than the trumpet of the swan.The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White
I think this book is where I got my love of fractured fairy tales. It takes the stories you know, and twists them to show the other side, to make a point that the ending isn’t always happily ever after and that’s just fine. The stories are comedic and fun, and less focused on the prince saving the princess.
And everyone lived happily, thought maybe not completely honestly, ever after.The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka
Yertle the Turtle is my favorite Seuss book. I mean, it has turtles, it has a totalitarian government that fails, it has rhymes – what more could you ask for?
“SILENCE!” the King of the Turtles barked back.Yertle The Turtle by Dr. Seuss
“I’m King, and you’re only a turtle named Mack.”
What are your favorite kids books and what are you reading to your kids nowadays?