For some, it might be Dr Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat. For others, it might be Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White, or the Lewis Carroll classic Alice in Wonderland.
As for me, my childhood was defined by Enid Blyton’s books. My parents used to buy me those hardback books of short stories, like A Hole in Her Pocket and Other Stories from garage sales. I even owned a tome consisting 5 stories from The Famous Five series. My favourite Enid Blyton books were the ones about The Faraway Tree, of course, as well as The Wishing Chair and Amelia Jane stories. There is one particular book I enjoyed reading, called The Three Brownies. I lost that book and till now I can never find this title at bookshops or even online. 😦
Enid Blyton books were my staple from when I was seven till about ten years old. During then, I also got hooked to a Singapore series called The Bookworm Gang. This was about as local a children’s series as I could get. I love the colourful characters who I could relate easier to than the Western counterparts written by Ms Blyton, terrific though they were. I wonder what happened to my collection of those books…
In my tween age, a friend introduced me to The Sweet Valley Twins and Friends, which I felt was the real catalyst to my reading habit, despite having devoured many Enid Blytons. Besides introducing me to Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield, it was through my friend which I learn about the concept of book rental stores. It wasn’t long before I ventured into one of these places to borrow some books, and later on it became a weekly trip for me and my dad as he chatted up with the owner while I grab the latest titles.
At the book rental stores, I was exposed to Archie comics, R. L. Stine’s Fear Street and Goosebumps, Christopher Pike novels, Love Stories series… basically junk food for reading. But you know what? I believe they help teach me a lot about life, besides keeping me entertained on my own.
What books do you remember from your childhood? Do you still keep them? Do you read them again every now and then?