childhood fave books

Most of the books I read in my YA reading days weren’t great and don’t stand the test of time. When I try to read them now…yuck. But some of them are treasures. I introduced them to my own kids by reading them out loud and I fell in love with them all over again. These are some of my enduring favorites. Especially This Island Isn’t Big Enough for the Four of Us. Deal of the day? This hilarious, fun book is available from Amazon for 1 penny. Plus shipping.

This Island Isn’t Big Enough for the Four of Us Two by Gery Greer and Bob Ruddick. Two boys on an adventure before they head into junior high school plan to camp on an isolated island. Turns out it isn’t isolated. Two girls are there, too. The four spend their week pulling pranks on each other, meeting a recluse who lives in an elaborate treehouse, and sort of kind of falling in like. When I read this to my kids we had to frequently pause for laughing.


The Westing Game (Puffin Modern Classics)
by Ellen Raskin. Mystery, word puzzles, intriguing characters? I was hooked.




Just As Long As We’re Together

by Judy Blume. Probably more girls loved Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.
but I didn’t really get into that one. I preferred this story about three friends and how they navigated boys, school, and conflict.


Sideways Stories from Wayside School
by Louis Sachar. Funny, light-hearted. Stories about the terrible lunch lady, the missing thirteenth floor, the boy who was really a rat…




I did also read Sweet Valley Twins and Sweet Valley High, the Babysitter’s Club, and the Fabulous Five. Oh, and Janette Oke and Lurlene McDaniel but got tired of the stilted dialogue in Oke and the melodrama in McDaniel, all those dying teenagers.

Okay fine, fine, I’ll spill it all. I read Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine too. But those I had to read in secret. My mom knows now, but I actually succeeded in pulling the wool over my parents’ eyes back then. I had a beanbag chair set up in my closet with a reading lamp and a book. Ahem, two books. One book to serve as a cover and the forbidden book. When I heard the door open or someone call me, I slid the forbidden book behind the beanbag chair and read the other book. Hey – as long as I was reading…

What I’m reading this week:

Next Wave: America’s New Generation of Great Literary Journalists
You just can’t go wrong with longform journalism by Pamela Colloff, Ariel Levy, and Dan P. Lee all in the same book plus notes from the authors on how they developed the pieces. Stories about a million dollar bill, a father and his autistic son swept out to sea and separated by waves, a mother driven to give away her pre-teen son, profiles of Roger Ebert and Brittany Spears…each story is fascinating.


Lucy has been sick, really sick this week with a high fever. So I also read a good amount of Dr. Seuss. My personal favorite? The story in The Sneetches and Other Storiesabout the pale green pants with nobody inside them. “I said and said and said those words. I said them, but I lied them.” Makes me laugh every time.

What are some of your childhood favorites that you still enjoy? What are you reading this week?