Books we fell in love with

I’ve been thinking a little bit this week about what makes us fall in love with books as children. Is it the story? The characters? The illustrations? Or do we somehow just feel an instant connection with certain books? I also wondered if there was a particular book that seemed to be commonly loved among my peers (whose first memories of books would have been somewhere around the late 80s/early 90s). So, I asked a few friends to helped me out and tell me about their favourite book as a child and why. Here are their answers:

Clifford the Big Red Dog! It was because he was a big red dog. I remember, my mom even got me a stuffed toy which apparently was hard to find at the time…a really long time ago. And I loved dogs.

I LOVED The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I think what attracted me most is the colours (i’m not kidding you) and the big, simple pictures of the things he ate. The words weren’t complicated either. Best damn book!!

I really liked a book called The Busy Garage – the first book I ever read. It’s about a family on their way to the fair when their car breaks down and they have to take it to the mechanic (ahhh, the story of my life). My brother spent days (hours? minutes? It’s hard to measure time when you’re a kid) teaching me how to read it.

One of my favourite books when I was younger was Red is Best by Kathy Stinson. I think mostly I was jealous that she had red rain boots and I always wanted a pair like that…but, I think I just really thought she was such a cool kid – who could put together wicked outfits, and who understood that parents just didn’t get it.

My favourite book was Summer by Alice Low. The book’s home was my grandmother’s cottage and she would read it to me, my sister, and my cousins every summer. The illustrations are awesome and it talked about everything we did at the cottage – from eating watermelon and s’mores to to cooling off in the water and having water fights. I was the lucky member of the family to swipe this book when the cottage was sold. The cover has fallen off and it is taped together but I will still keep it to read to my children every summer.

My favourite book was Rosie’s Babies by Martin Waddell. I liked it because my Mom used to read it to me every night! Plus she got it for me because I looked like Rosie!

My favourite book as a young child was Alligator Pie by Dennis Lee (who also happens to be one of the founders of House of Anansi). It’s a book of absurd poems, and I loved it because it was just so much fun. I remember being young enough to not really understand the concept of alligator pie and why it was so strange, but the way Lee strung together language so playfully made me love it regardless.

Though my little poll is by no means scientific, I think it does say something about the books we love. They’re all different–and we love them for different reasons–but they still manage to stick with us for years after we outgrow bedtime stories.

What about you? What was your favourite book when you were younger? Do you remember why you fell in love with it? Leave a comment and share your memories!


10 responses to “Books we fell in love with

  1. I started writing stories when I was five and I wrote a series of “[Colour] is best,” inspired by Red is Best. I think I liked how well-organized the book was, and how it focused on something attractive: colour! Kids love colour.

    Looking at this page, I recognize and love the Clifford book and the Red is Best. I don’t know why I fell in love with the books at the time, but I know that I love running into them now because they make me think of my childhood.

    Perhaps what we love about these books is how familiar they are. My parents would reread the same stories to me (well, I probably begged them to, and that’s why…) and that story became a comfort zone.

    • I think you make a great point, Marisa. When I loved a book, I LOVED it. I would read (or have my parents) read it over and over, never really getting tired of it. To this day I can pick up some of my old favourites and be brought right back to when I was younger.

      I also think it’s fabulous that Red is Best sparked a little creativity in you. I’m pretty adamant that inspiration (whether creative, emotional, or intellectual) is one of the greatest powers that books have–no matter how old you are.

  2. There was a series called Fern Hollow that my dad, my sister and I all loved, about animals living in a Victorian style town. We drew pictures of the animals, made up our own stories, and bought every single one of the books.

    • I don’t think I’ve read any Fern Hollow books, but that sounds like a really cool series! I always loved series of books because I tended to get attached to the characters and didn’t want to leave them behind when the book was over.

  3. Lovely to see one of my books among “books we fell in love with”. Thanks for your comments on Red is Best, Stephanie and Marissa.

    One of my favourites – and we’re going back to the 1950s and 60s here – was Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey. I loved the way the stories of the little girl and her mom and the bear cub and his mom, all out in search for blueberries, came together and paralleled each other. I still talk about that book with writing classes.

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Kathy! It’s always wonderful to hear from a favourite author.

      I think your comment is the perfect example of how our favourite books can stick with us long after we’ve grown out of childhood. Re-reading one (or even just thinking about the story) is similar to catching up with an old friend you haven’t seen in a while–familiar, comforting, and uniquely satisfying.

  4. I had two favourite books as a child. The first is Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. My mom read this book to me all the time and I always remembered the story. The second book is Big Sarahs Little Boots by Brenda Clark. I loved this story because I enjoyed looking at what Sarah would do next to try to stretch her boots.

  5. Great site Erin. I love Red is Best. My red car is named Kelly. Keep up the good work!

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