Kidlit is short for literature for kids, today's tempting top ten list for the A-Z blogging challenge. Here's the top ten kidlit books that influenced me. I've re-read them over and over again. Even as an adult I will re-read them from time to time. I don't think its possible to overestimate the lasting and powerful influence of stories with kids.
These first two books are kidlit that I read as an adult - as great an impact as they had on me as an adult, I'm sure they would have been an even greater influence earlier on.
10. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.
9. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.
I don't know how I missed this one as a kid; probably because I saw the movie version - which doesn't have nearly the impact as the book (even though it's a great movie).
The ones I read as a kid (and re-read, again and again):
8. Charlotte's Web, and The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White.
7. The Call of the Wild, and White Fang, by Jack London.
6. The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley. I read all 20 books, multiple times.
5. Any book by Madeleine L'Engle, in particular the Austin family books. Her most famous book is a Wrinkle in Time, which I also loved and contributed mightily to my love of science fiction. But there was an even greater magic with Austin family that I don't even know how to explain.
4. Bambi, by Felix Salten.
I believe this was the first book without illustrations I ever read. I re-read it at least 10 times, and it made me cry every time.
3. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.
I read this one shortly after Bambi, and cried even harder.
2. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.
I read the whole series, but this first one I re-read at least a dozen times.
1.5. The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis.
My favorite one was, and still is, the Horse and His Boy.
1. My Friend Flicka and its two sequels, by Mary O'Hara.
These books are the reason why I moved to Wyoming (I remember telling my parents when I was about 12 or 13 that I was going to move to Wyoming someday, after falling in love with these books. They scoffed at me. Hah!) It is possible to fall so much in love with a setting in a book that you know, without even seeing it, that it is meant to be your home. But it wasn't just the setting, it was the characters: Ken, Howard, Carey, Nell, Rob - they almost feel like a second family to me, I know them so well.
Okay, so that was a lot more than ten books. In fact, there are so many other kidlits that I love that I can't help but list a few more:
Holes, Louis Sachar
The Blue Sword, Robin McKinley
The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
The Tombs of Atuan, Ursula LeGuin
Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
Julie of the Wolves, Jean Craighead George
The Abandoned, Paul Gallico (also titled as Jennie)
The Little House books, Laura Ingalls Wilder
Heidi, Johanna Spyri
Just listing these wonderful books makes me want to re-read them all over again. Oh, the magic of discovering these stories for the first time!