Friday, September 30, 2011

Top Ten Kids' Series

I have always been an avid reader (except for the times before I could read, but I don't remember those, so they don't count). I spent a great deal of my childhood so immersed in other worlds that my parents had to practically shout to bring me back to this one, which I don't think they appreciated, though in my defense I could have been playing video games or setting things on fire and reading is clearly better than those things.  Anyway, I thought I'd make a list of the books that I loved most as a kid, which are coincidentally still pretty awesome today.

10.  Ender's Game
Orson Scott Card

Ender's Game already came up in the Best Stand-Alone Books post, but it certainly deserves a mention here as well. Although I didn't technically read this one as a child (I first picked it up two years ago), it's one of those books that people read in middle school, and it's a great read at any age.

9. The Lost Years of Merlin
T.A. Barron

The Lost Years of Merlin tells the story of Merlin's childhood (apparently this is not aging-backwards Merlin). This is epic fantasy for kids, though not bad for grown-ups either. Merlin is a relatable, sympathetic character, and Barron fills his tale with myth and magic.

8. The Chronicles of Narnia
C.S. Lewis

Yes, I know, The Chronicles of Narnia technically start's with The Magician's Nephew, but what does that book have to do with anything? The Chronicles of Narnia had me poking into the backs of closets looking for transportation to another world, preferably one with talking animals. No list of great children's books would be complete without it.

7. The Dark Is Rising
Susan Cooper

Another Camelot-related tale, this time of a quest for the Holy Grail. (Hey that rhymed, and completely by accident. It was even in quasi-iambic pentameter.  I didn't know I had such amazing skills.) Although the first book isn't quite up to the standard of the rest, this is an amazing series that I've read many times.

6. Young Wizards
Diane Duane

When Nita Callahan comes across a tattered copy of So You Want to Be a Wizard in the children's section of the library and finds inside an Oath to really become a wizard, she thinks it's a joke. But when she takes the Oath (just in case), she's in for a huge surprise. Young Wizards is urban fantasy for kids, brilliant stories of life, the universe, and everything set in modern-day Manhattan.

5. Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Rick Riordan

I didn't pick up this series until a few months ago, but I'm so glad I did. I've always loved mythology, and Riordan does an incredible job blending the myth and the modern, not to mention creating wonderful characters. And also brilliant chapter titles. (I particularly liked "In Which I Become Lord of the Bathroom.)

4. The Hero and the Crown
Robin McKinley

Princesses and dragons and horses, war, love, magic, uncannily intelligent hunting animals. Everything a kid needs to be happy curled up on the couch with a mug of hot cocoa on a winter day. The Hero and the Crown is one of McKinley's best novels, filled with her characteristic dryly witty tone and a strong but uncertain heroine. (And I've already said at least twice how much I love Robin McKinley.)

3. The Enchanted Forest Chronicles
Patricia C. Wrede

More princesses and dragons, but this time the dragons are the good guys (sort of). Dealing with Dragons makes fun of fairy tales and fairy tale princesses in this humorous and wonderful story of a princess who runs away from home to work for a dragon. Cimorene is a spectacular, clever character, and all the mock-fairy tale touches are brilliant whether you're eight or eighty.

2. Harry Potter
J.K. Rowling

You had to see this one coming. I'm not even going to bother to explain why it's on the list. Like many people my age, I grew up with Harry, going to midnight releases, lurking on fan websites, staying up all night reading. I was almost disappointed to see the series come to a close, but capitalism being what it is, I'm betting Harry Potter won't be going away for a long time.

1. A Wrinkle in Time
Madeleine L'Engle

If I had to pick a single book that influence me the most, it would be A Wrinkle in Time. I had to buy a new copy recently because mine literally fell apart (though to be fair, before I had it it was shared among my mom and her ten siblings. But it was still in one piece when I first got it.) It's an amazing story and probably the oldest on the list. I'm guessing it'll survive a lot longer.

Well there it is. Looking at it, this list actually explains a lot.  Compare what I read as a kid to what I read now and there's really not that much difference. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go relive my childhood.

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