Books That Shaped My Childhood

Books have been a part of my life as long as I can remember. My grandma started taking me to the library when I was just a year old. I can still retrace every corner of my hometown library in my mind. I knew every square foot of the old two story home that housed my childhood passport to a world much bigger than the small town where I grew up.

Every winter, I spent hours curled up in front of my space heater in my bedroom, listening to the north wind howl around my corner bedroom while I snuggled deeper into my blanket and escaped into a book. Summer would often find me sprawled in the porch swing with a book, swaying gently in the shade.

I read voraciously, from a wide variety of genres. There are a few books that stand out as the books that shaped my childhood—and in some cases, my entire life.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

When I first read A Wrinkle in Time, I was around he same age as Meg. I felt a lot like Meg too. I was the nerdy girl with frizzy hair and glasses, the one didn’t quite fit in and hadn’t yet grown into herself. I loved following her through this series. Her transformation gave me hope.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

This is the book that probably influenced me the most, because this is the book that made me want to become a writer. I was nine when I read Little Women for the first time, and I knew immediately I wanted to be just like Jo March—a dream that never died. More than thirty years later, I’m still writing, and I’m a proud mom of two amazing boys.

Trixie Belden, The Three Investigators, and Nancy Drew

I had to have read every copy of every one of these series multiple times as a kid. These are the books that laid the foundation for my continued love of a good mystery. It’s still my go-to genre and the first kind of book I’ll gravitate toward.

The Mandie Mysteries by Lois Gladys Shepherd

This series was my introduction to Christian fiction. I eagerly looked foreword to each installment, and even kept the series in my attic for years, just in case I had a daughter to pass them on to. Since I have all boys, I finally passed them on a young girl I knew would love them as much as I did.

The Chronicles of Narnia

This series is just incredible. I read it multiple times when I was young, and recently reread the series. It’s just as meaningful as when I was a child—maybe more so. And C.S. Lewis’ words about the Shadowlands from The Last Battle were especially meaningful earlier this year, when I lost two friends within weeks of each other. It was a reminder that this life is only a shadow of the beautiful life that’s to come for Jesus’ followers.

What were your favorite childhood books? Which ones shaped your life the most? And have you reread any of them as an adult?

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