I grew up as a reader. I read a variety of books, but a couple of series kept me reading regularly.
The Dear America series
Oh, these books! I read as many of these books as I could get my hands on from the ages of eleven to fourteen. I’m pretty sure my love for historical fiction comes from these diaries of young women living through specific points in history. I loved the diary aspect of it, because the girls felt relatable. Book Riot just posted an article about Dear America, and it prompted me to write this very post. I also loved the Royal Diaries spinoff series which was based on the lives of young women in royal history. I can probably attribute these books for why I keep journals and write as much as I can. Some of my favorites in this series were: The Winter of Red Snow, pictured above about the winter at Valley Forge; When Will this Cruel War be Over?, a Civil War diary; and Dreams in the Golden Country, a turn-of-the-century immigrant’s story, featuring the fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.
The Baby-Sitters Club series
Taking it back even further, I think I was in the second grade when I first picked up a BSC book. It was not Kristy’s Great Idea. I don’t know that I actually would have continued if I started with Kristy. I think I read a Claudia book first, and then I read a few Mallory books. Claudia is obviously the coolest original BSC member, and I related a lot to the bookworm big sister that was Mallory. I realize that most of the series was written by ghost writers and that each book followed a formula. It was easy to figure out how to skip most of the first two chapters, considering they were just intros and an explanation of the club. I think I read about 100 of these books, including some of the Summer Specials. These books were like episodes of Full House. I just couldn’t get enough. I remember when we used to go to the library or the bookstore, there would be a whole shelf unit of BSC books. Now, I think there is only one shelf with a few of the original stories introducing the first four girls and a couple of subsequent stories. It’s a little sad and definitely less 80s-tastic, but I’m glad some of them still exist.
I was also a fan of Madeline, Amelia Bedelia, and a few novels, such as Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. What did you love to read as a kid?