Sunday 26 June 2011

Top 5: Series That Defined My Childhood

When I think about the books that I read as a child, they always seem to be a part of a series or collection. I read individual books, of course, but I guess purely because I read more of them, it's the series that seem to have stuck in my mind the most. Here are the ones that dominated my early years:

1. Little Golden Books (Ages 1-10)

For as long as I can remember, I had a shelf full of Little Golden Books to dive into. Before I could read myself, my family read them to me, and once I learned I spent many an hour with a Golden Book in my hand. Later, as I outgrew them, I had the excuse of a little brother to share them with - though admittedly I would still pick up my old favourites when I was alone. Even as a kid I was super nostalgic, never quite ready to let go of past joys.

2. The Babysitters Club by Ann M. Martin (Ages 8-12)

I first picked up a BSC book in Year 3, but I wasn't immediately hooked (probably because it was a Mallory story), reading the books at various times, in no particular order, as I got them from the library or as gifts over the next couple of years. Then when I was around nine or 10, my mum signed me up for The Babysitters Club Club. I got my very own BSC necklace, and was sent three books a month, in chronological order, starting with Kristy's Great Idea. By the time I got over it a couple of years later, I'd racked up 112 books (not counting doubles or super specials) and countless hours of reading, rereading, watching the show and movie, and trying to start up a BSC of my own (it didn't work out - astonishingly, parents in my neighbourhood weren't quite so eager as those in Stonybrook to leave their kids with 11-year-olds as sitters).

3. Paul Jennings' short story collections (Ages 8-12)

I still have a few of these books lying around at my parents' place, and from the sad state of them - dog-eared pages and missing or torn covers - you might think I neglected them, but in fact it's a sign of how very well-loved they were. I obsessively reread them, spending time assessing each story and ranking them in order from most liked to least, from saddest to happiest and so on (the first stirrings of the book blogger in me?). I was such a nerd, I know, but at the time it didn't seem so bad, coz Jennings' books were so awesome that they were actually considered cool to read. I remember having in-depth discussions (well, as in-depth as nine-year-olds get) with my friends about each story, and competing over who had read the most. Throw in Round the Twist, the show based on the collections, and I spent much of my formative years under the influence of Jennings' twisted mind.

4. Goosebumps by R. L. Stine (Ages 9-12)

Although I wasn't quite as obsessed with Goosebumps as I was with the BSC, I still amassed a considerable collection - in addition to devoting many library visits to the series. I was hooked on the mysteries, thrills and big twist endings, and loved the ghostly ones the most. When the show hit our screens I became addicted to that, too, roping in my poor baby brother to watch it with me. I wonder if this has anything to do with all the nightmares...

5. Series by V. C. Andrews (Ages 11-14)

My auntie introduced me to the joys of V. C. Andrews, first lending me her collection and then starting me off with my own when she gave me the full Flowers in the Attic set for my 11th birthday. Looking back, I'm amazed she encouraged me to read them - they're so trashy, twisted and just a bit naughty - but at the time, of course, I ate them all up. Though I guess I turned out all right, and I'm not gonna lie, I still love them today - for the same trashy, twisted reasons I loved them back then.


  1. I use to read The Babysitters Club and Flowers in The Attic too. I also remember having a collection of Sesame Street books :)

  2. I cant believe i haven't read any of these books.
    I used to love Roald Dahl and Dr Suess books.
    I was always terrified of sesame street for some reason, big bird gave me the creeps haha
    I'm loving your imagnative posts!

  3. I loved the Babysitter Club and the Sweet Valley High books. Mostly, though, I read R.L Stine's other books (not Goosebumps). Thanks for the blast from the past!

    -Miss GOP

  4. Nic - I had a few Sesame St books, too! I remember a couple with activity pages that you could put handprints on, and one about Big Bird that had a banana bread recipe in it - my mum helped me make it for my teacher in Year 1. LOL I was such a nerd. ;)

    Abbey - Why thank you! I loved Roald Dahl too, and I had a few Dr Suess, but I wasn't a massive fan - they usually either creeped me out or annoyed me (Like with Green Eggs And Ham - he doesn't want any, Sam I Am, just leave him alone!)

    Miss GOP - Sweet Valley High was one series I didn't get into for some reason, I'm not sure why - I feel like I missed out now! I currently have Sweet Valley Confidential sitting in my TBR pile but I feel like I should go back and visit the original series first.

  5. I loved the Babysitters Club books! Too easily scared for the R.L. Stine books, though-- my imagination went wild and the smallest thing would scare me for days.

  6. I loved RL Stine and the Babysitter's Club. I was also a huge Sweet Valley High fan, and loved anything to do with horror--Christopher Pike and those Nightmare Hall books come to mind. :)

  7. Treesandink - I had the same problem, only stupidly it didn't stop me from reading them, hence all the nightmares! lol

    Stephanie - Christopher Pike was another author I missed as a kid - I don't know how, I think I was too busy with the BSC! ;)

  8. RL Stine was an addiction back then! Mine was definitely his books too and the Babysitters Club Little Sister, Animorphs, and Sweet Valley!

  9. Ooh yes, I remember Animorphs, ah, I'm feeling so nostalgic :)

  10. aw, I felt the exact same way about the Little Golden Books and BSC! I love the way you described your reading experiences with them. :) I was always way too much of a chicken to read Goosebumps though.

  11. Thanks! This post made me feel so nostalgic, I really want to read them all again haha. They're currently stored away in my parents' roof though!