Drop Everything and Read

April 12 was Drop Everything and Read Day in honor of Beverly Cleary's birthday.  I actually forgot about it this year, so we didn't do anything special, but every day is a DEAR Day around this house.  And Beverly Cleary is a pretty big name -- both kids adore Ramona Quimby.

I've been thinking a lot about books I read during my childhood.  About a month ago I found a list I'd made of my favorite books and authors from my elementary school media center:
  • Lloyd Alexander (The Book of Three*)
  • Natalie Babbit (The Eyes of the Amaryllis*, Knee-Knock Rise*, The Search for Delicious*)
  • Marion Dane Bauer (Foster Child*)
  • Francis Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden)
  • Betsy Byars (The Pinballs*, Night Swimmers*)
  • Eleanor Cameron (The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet, Stowaway to the Mushroom Planet*)
  • Ruth Chew (No Such Thing as a Witch, What the Witch Left, The Wednesday Witch)
  • Beverly Cleary (The Ramona Books, Sister of the Bride, The Luckiest Girl, Fifteen*)
  • Susan Cooper (The Dark is Rising series)
  • Roald Dahl (Fantastic Mr. Fox, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)
  • Paula Danziger (The Cat Ate My Gymsuit, There's a Bat in Bunk Five, Can You Sue Your Parents for Malpractice?, The Pistachio Prescription)
  • Meindert DeJong (The Wheel on the School*)
  • Judy Delton (Kitty in the Middle and other Kitty books)
  • Eleanor Estes (The Witch Family)
  • Esther Forbes (Johnny Tremain)
  • Carolyn Haywood (B is for Betsy and other Betsy & Eddie books)
  • CS Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia series)
  • Maud Hart Lovelace (Betsy-Tacy series)
  • Lois Lowry (Anastasia Krupnik books, A Summer to Die*)
  • Janet Lunn (The Root Cellar*)
  • LM Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables series)
  • Richard Parker (M for Mischief)
  • Katherine Patterson (Bridge to Terabithia) 
  • Wilson Rawls (Where the Red Fern Grows)
  • EB White (Charlotte's Webb)

There are many books not on this list that I adored as a child, and the list does not include picture books or younger chapter books.  That's a topic for another day.

I already have a lot of these books in my collection (library discards mostly) but there are several that I'm missing (the ones marked with an *) and would like to share with my children.  I've started a quest to obtain all of them.  After a quick online search I've learned that many of them are out-of-print and will need to be found in used book stores, at book sales, etc.  Shortly after finding the list, I stopped at a local antique store to buy a birthday present for my sister and found M for Mischief for a dollar!

What are some of your favorite reads from your childhood?  Or newer books that you're reading with your children now (i.e. Harry Potter)?  How did those books shape your world, your life as a reader and/or writer?


  1. I remember really loving Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan and other books by her. I'm sure Lisa brought them home and I borrowed them. There was a series of twisted fairy tales that I loved too. I remember one about red riding hood actually being the wolf.

  2. Did you read "A Wrinkle In Time" by L'Engle? How about "James & The Giant Peach" by Dahl? I liked that better than "Charlie & The Chocolate Factory". "The Book of Three" series was fantastic. My first foray into fantasy. Good list.

  3. Sara, I've heard of Lois Duncan but never read anything by her. Shawn, I forgot about A Wrinkle in Time! That's definitely going on the list!

  4. Ah...yes! "A Wrinkle In Time", "A Wind In The Door" and "A Swiftly Tilting Planet" are the ones I loved.. and have had my kids read them.:)

  5. "The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodle"
    by Julie Edwards
    not sure what made me think of that book... now, but I always loved that book. :)


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