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Raise your hand if this rings a bell: hiding under the covers, flashlight in hand, with one eye on the page and the other on the bedroom door. Even though book-reading was a favorite nightly ritual at our house, I was a kid OBSESSED. We’re taking a step back in time to celebrate childhood this week (find all of our ’80’s-themed projects and activities here) and I couldn’t let it pass by without sharing a post featuring my absolute, all-time favorite 80’s past time…reading!
I was the kind of kid who missed meals to read, and when my face wasn’t buried in a book I was re-enacting favorite storylines, becoming the characters, or watching something book-related on TV – any Megan Follows Anne of Green Gables fans out there…??
I could still happily lose myself in a Reading Rainbow narration by Sir LeVar Burton (I don’t think he’s officially been knighted, but in this house we endorse it). Click below to play the song that saw me through my entire childhood – I can still sing the whole thing perfectly at the drop of a hat.
In the spirit of the week, I made an *abbreviated* list of my personal favorites from back in the day– some well-known, others forgotten – ALL great books.
The lovely illustration at the top of this post is part of a series called “Ideal Bookshelf” by artist Jane Mount – you can check out all of her bookshelf prints here)!
A List of My Favorite Childhood Books:
Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains a few Woodpeckers Crafts and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*
- Anno’s Counting Book and Anno’s Counting House by Mitsumasa Anno
- Roar and More by Karla Kuskin
- The Graphic Alphabet by David Pelletier
- Simon’s Book by Henrik Drescher
- Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard
- George and Martha by James Marshall
- The King Who Rained by Fred Gwynne
- Harriet’s Halloween Candy by Nancy Carlson
- The Jolly Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
- The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
- Strega Nona and Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola
- Black and White by David Macaulay
- Round Trip by Ann Jonas
- People and Rain by Peter Spier
- Doctor De Soto by William Steig
- A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams
- Ira Sleeps Over by Bernard Waber
- Mouse Soup by Arnold Lobel
- Island of the Skog by Steven Kellogg
- The Frog Prince, Continued and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
- Weslandia by Paul Fleischman
- The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant
- Just A Dream by Chris Van Allsburg
- It’s MY Birthday! by Pat Hutchins
- The Pain and the Great One by Judy Blume
- Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban
- The Eleventh Hour by Graeme Base
- Bea and Mr. Jones by Amy Schwartz
- Tuesday by David Wiesner
- The Little Island and The Summer Noisy Book by Margaret Wise Brown
- Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
- No Jumping on the Bed by Tedd Arnold
- Stringbean’s Trip to the Shining Sea by Vera B. Williams
- Christmastime in New York City and The Inside-Outside Book of New York City by Roxie Munro
- This Old House by Leo Hartas
- Imogene’s Antlers by David Small
- Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book: Make a World by Ed Emberley
- The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
- The Borrowers by Mary Norton
- The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
- Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
- From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
- Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
- The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
- The Babysitter’s Club Series by Ann M. Martin
- Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
- Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
- The Best of John Bellairs a collection of stories by John Bellairs
Children’s Book List Links
If you’re loving the throwback list, but craving something more current, there are tons of great places to find fantastic book suggestions in list-form…
- The 2021 Ultimate List of Diverse Children’s Books from Here Wee Read
- The New York Public Libraries Kids Recommended Reading List Page
- The ALSC’s List of Caldecott Medal & Honor Books
- Reading Rainbow Episode List with Featured Books
More Reading Links to Help Encourage Children’s Literacy
And just for fun, I thought I’d also share some places I’ve run across that are great online/app resources to help kids get excited about reading:
- Reading Rainbow is back as a subscription app!
- Little Free Diverse Libraries on Instagram
- Interactive reading activities for kids through PBS
- Celebs read to your kids!
- Kids can create, print, read and share stories through Storybird
- A National Geographic online book club with reviews by kids
- Give books or get books through his amazing non-profit
*A note about affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Amazon or Woodpecker Crafts. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click-through to make a purchase, we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!