My Favorite Children’s Books When I was a Child

Little Golden Books courtesy Ebay.com

The books I remember most as a young child were the Little Golden Books. These were the books I could read on my own. The four above, particularly The Poky Little Puppy were favorites.These were called Board books, likely because the covers were made of cardboard. I don’t remember how much they cost then, but it was not a lot of money at all. This would have been in the 1940’s.

When I was older, my favorite was Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. And still later, perhaps around 12 – 14, my favorites that I read on my own were the Nancy Drew mysteries. These are stories I remember that cast young children as heroes in their own times, and Nancy Drew was particularly strong in portraying the star character as a very feminist type young lady, driving a sportster and fearlessly solving mysteries with her good friend.  She seemed to be very much in charge of directing her own life and making decisions that looking back, seem very forward for the times. I don’t remember what year(s) it might have been, but I remember when libraries were trying unsuccessfully to ban the Nancy Drew Mysteries for being poor literature.  A similar group of books for boys were the Hardy Boys mysteries.

A little known fact is that the ideas for the books were created by a prolific writer, Edward Stratemeyer.  In 1905, he created a network of freelance writers and editors. The main strategy of Stratemeyer’s Syndicate was to produce a huge number of books at the lowest possible cost, something he achieved with great success.Stratemeyer’s Syndicate created perhaps hundreds of ideas for books with ghostwriters that proved highly profitable for him. Writers signed away their rights to royalties and bylines for a flat fee, which in the beginning was around $100 for a book. Stratemeyer’s syndicate launched dozens of series, guessing that only a few would be hits. Tom Swift debuted in 1910,  The Hardy Boys in 1927, and Nancy Drew in 1930. Stratemeyer died in New Jersey in 1930, as more of a tycoon than a writer.

What books can you remember as your childhood favorites?

80 thoughts on “My Favorite Children’s Books When I was a Child

  1. I loved Nancy Drew. I wanted to BE Nancy Drew. And of course I loved Charlotte’s Web. I also had a deep fondness for my Dad’s old school readers that were tucked away in boxes. Maybe that’s what started my sense of nostalgia.

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  2. Oh me too. A girlfriend and I used to go into her backyard and act out the stories, and sometimes we made up some new ones, or improvised with the old ones. Charlotte’s Web is a favorite of mine too, but you are younger than I am for it was not out when I was a child. Yes, I too have a fondness of nostalgia big-time, but I am having to curb myself as I am growing older. Thank you for the excellent share. Very fun to read.

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  3. Oh my gosh! I don’t know the Enid Blyton books or Richard Scarry; are those British authors? And my gosh, Anne of Green Gables – my true favorite but as an adult I guess. She is my alter-ego for sure, even the red hair when I was younger (now only available thanks to Ms. Clairol!) Oh yes, thank you for reminding me. You made my day.

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    1. From Wikipedia: ‘Enid Mary Blyton (11 August 1897 – 28 November 1968) was an English children’s writer whose books have been among the world’s best-sellers since the 1930s, selling more than 600 million copies. Blyton’s books are still enormously popular, and have been translated into 90 languages; her first book, Child Whispers, a 24-page collection of poems, was published in 1922. She wrote on a wide range of topics including education, natural history, fantasy, mystery, and biblical narratives and is best remembered today for her Noddy, Famous Five, Secret Seven and Malory Towers series.’
      Richard Scarry wrote a colourful picture book called ‘Busy Busy World’, about animal characters who lived in different countries.

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      1. This is absolutely incredible and I thank you so much for updating me. I am seriously going to look for her work. I wonder if perhaps I did not encounter her books as a child because I lived in El Paso, TX, and some of the books that others have mentioned I never saw, and I loved to read. I will definitely research her work now. They sound absolutely wonderful! Thank you very kindly.

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  4. Anne, what a wonderful post.
    Nancy Drew and I were great friends. Yes, she was a girl far beyond her time.
    Also enjoyed Trixie Beldon and Little House books.
    In fact, it was the Little House books that got me wanting to write. I wanted to tell my stories as Laura told hers.

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    1. Oh gosh yes. I loved those too, but doesn’t seem like I discovered them until I was an adult. I took a class in Children’s Literature, and I guess that is when I must have read them. Great books. Yes, Loved how she told her story too.

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  5. Reblogged this on Ann Writes Inspiration and commented:
    I loved Nancy Drew. I read the Little House books three or four times in various audio formats and some in Braille. I’ve had Charlottes Web read to me, I listened to it on talking book and I read it in Braille. King emmitt’s Pig was my all-time favorite when I was about five. Judy Bloom was another of my favorite authors. I don’t remember the little golden books, though.

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    1. Hi Ann, So good to hear from you. I don’t remember King Emmitt’s Pig, but it might not have been out when I was a child. I am 77, so a lot of things I remember are probably not remembered as I suspect you are younger than I am. Oh I remember Judy Bloom too and she was a very good author, I can’t remember when she passed on or what she had , but I know it was very sad to loose her. Thank you very kindly and it is so nice to know you.

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      1. Thank you kindly, Patty. I thought I remembered that too. Boy, I sure do miss the old dime stores. Of course there are 99 cent stores today, but they will never be the same as the good old dime stores.

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      2. Hi Anne and all.

        The Golden Books are still in existence. I was buying them for my grands just a few years back.

        I too miss the 5&dime stores.

        I suppose the closest thing I’ve come to that has been the Dollar Tree and that is for sure one of my favorite stores.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Never read the Richard Scary books don’t know that I remember them.

        The first talking book I ever remember reading was about this little duck who always ended up last in line with his family at the end of the day to cross underneath the drawbridge. His family was fearful that he would get trapped as it came down.

        I don’t remember the whole story nor the name. Just remember the thrill of knowing that I could read when I wished rather than when someone had time to read to me.

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    1. I think what is great about these posts on different blogs about different kinds of books is the fact that there is something for all of us to read, and to see that a lot of us did read as children, even if no one read to us. This is so wonderful to know. Tjaml upi lomd;u/

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  6. My sister used to love the Nancy Drew books, too, though I was always too much of a scaredy-cat to get into mysteries haha. I remember loving “The Doll People” in particular! Probably because I loved dolls as a kid, too. 🙂

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  7. I also enjoyed Golden Books and was especially drawn to those that I realized in later years were mostly illustrated by Eloise Wilkin. I also have a very clear memory of the books about triplets (Flicka, Ricka & Dicka and also Snipp, Snapp & Snurr) by Maj Lindman. When I got older, I also like Nancy Drew, but Trixie Belden was my favorite mystery series!

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      1. I had forgotten about Trixie Belden. Yes, I have to go back and look up the stories about her. I did not read those, but I tend to like reality based ones too. That is amazing to have such a good sense of those things at such a young age.

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  8. I wish I had time in my life to read all the books that are in my bucket list. I used to be a fast reader, but now I am much slower and it takes me awhile to get through a book. Plus I have e-books I am trying to get finished, but when I have to be away from the house, it is difficult to take any e-books with me as I am not at all skilled to use my phone to read them, and I have nothing else besides my computer. But I love the idea of holding a book in my hands best of all anyway. Thank you kindly.

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      1. This is a great resource, Patty. I don’t think I can qualify, but it sure is a welcome resource since I meet to many physically/developmentally/emotionally challenged children and adults all the time, and I love to have resources to give them. Thank you so kindly.

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    1. A great list of favorite books. Our grade-three teacher read The Bobbsey Twins to us and I was hooked. I also loved Nancy Drew, Donna Parker, Pollyanna and Trixie Belden. Little Women and Anne of Green Gables though were my favorite. My character, Amanda Ross is a mixture of all of my childhood favorite characters. .

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      1. Oh my goodness, thank you, Darlene! I had forgotten Pollyanna and I don’t think I ever heard of Donna Parker, but I did know the others and Anne of Green Gables is my alter-ego for sure. I even had the red hair and was a genuine Ginger in the old days. Now I am a red head thanks to our dear Ms. Clairol! Oh this is so fun to remember!!! Thank you for the great nostalgia!!!

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      2. OK.

        What about children’s magazines?

        Who read Jack and Jill, Ranger Rick, and for teens Young and Alive?

        Children’s Digest, and the list goes on and on.

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    1. Oh, Anne of Green Gables is my Alter-ego, and I too am a Ginger, but I am not familiar with What Katy Did. I do so love The Hobbit, and I didn’t encounter this and Anne until I was an adult. I do not recall Enid Blyton’s books, but now I have some more to add to my 77-year-old bucket list! Thank you most kindly.

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      1. If you’re looking for a new children’s book, (book for all ages) to read, try mine and King Campbell’s book, ‘Bubba Tails From the Puppy Nursery At The Seeing Eye’

        It’s available on Amazon, Smashwords and all other sites.

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  9. So many of the books you all have mentioned I am thrilled to learn about or remember. Gosh, i was thinking, “Where on earth was I?” and then I remembered that we were overseas in Okinawa when I was in the 4th and 5th grades, and we did not have a good choice of children’s books at all. It was like an old-fashioned one-room school house, where we were all different grades, and most of the books were adult books. Then too, living in El Paso, TX when I did after we came back from overseas seemed to give us limited reading in the children’s library book sections. But I took a course in Children’s Literature in Arizona when I was in my first university, and I did not find those then either. Very strange stuff, and all of them so good. So much good to look forward to. thank you all very much –

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    1. My mother found and bought for me a ton of dramatized books on record and I would sit for hours with my toys and building blocks and act out the books as they were acted out in the records.

      I had the frog prince and all kinds of other stories.

      I sold those things when I was about 12 years old for a lot less than they were worth and I now hate that I did that but well, youth.

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    2. That is one of my all-time favorites, but I did not discover it until I was an adult. One of my favorite record stories too is “The Point” made, I think in the 70’s by Nilsson (hope that is spelled right). The Little Prince is one of my true loves. Such a sweet story with a big lesson. St. Exupery was an incredible writer and pilot.

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  10. Oh my goodness, Patty. You are right; you probably had a lot of money’s worth of wonderful books. I liked to act out the Nancy Drew mysteries with my neighbor best friend when I was a kid. Yes, there are so many things like that we did, but now I really wish I still had those things. Hope all is well now with you and Bubba dog. Anne

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    1. Bubba Dog is having a good day today.

      His favorite maintenance man came to visit and tried to fix momma’s dish washer then his Uncle Dave came to visit to read momma’s mail and then the meals on wheels ladies came but momma did not share.

      But.

      He’s now laying in the sun snoring away.

      Yes, I probably had a ton worth of money in those books, I mean they were vinyl doncha know? And the covers were pop up books.

      GEES. I could kick myself.

      There was the story of the frog prince, The Princess and the Pea and Peter Pan just to name a few.

      I cannot remember all I had I just remember having hours and hours of great fun in our big living room in the old house we used to rent years ago when I was just a wee kid.

      Lord what wondrous memories.

      The neighborhood kids loved coming to my house on rainy days because of course back then we did not have so much TV or videos and we could hang out and listen to those stories and act them out and Oh what fun!

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      1. Oh I often wish I had kept this or that over the years that I willingly sold or gave away to a friend too, but I know how you feel about that. Wasn’t that a fun time in life before we had TV? It reminds me of the little street kids in those old cartoons I cannot remember the names of – I remember something like Spanky and the Gang, but not sure. Yes, we would play out in the street all sorts of games late into the night in the summer when school was out. We never had to worry about anything like bad people getting us, etc. – at least not so much from strangers then. It was a magical time of life. Thank you for all the good memories. I love them too.

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      2. I think you mean the Little Rascals, but I know what you mean.

        I think the bad people were always there, maybe not so many of them but yeah, always there.

        We just didn’t have all this 24-7 news to spike our fears, and at that time the neighborhood watched out for one another. It was a different time and now, we’re all closed up inside our homes and locked in with our devices and TVS etc.

        In the town where I live, we still have neighborhoods where we do what I call front porch sitting but not in the neighborhood where I live so much.

        At my other house I would get out in the evenings and walk round the block with Campbell and chat with all the neighbors. We all knew each other watched out for each other and helped each other out.

        I get homesick just thinking about it.

        Books like the Boxcar children, Nancy Drew, and Trixie Belden were from those kinds of times and I think that’s why I was drawn to them.

        Even Stephen King in his adult horror novels tells of packs of kids running round the neighborhood together, helping and taking care of one another and you know? There’s always one older lady or man whom they all go to with their troubles, mysteries, weird goings on whatever and it was the same in those children’s books.

        For a while I was that lady. When I lived at my other house and my grand nieces lived above me in a garage apartment that was much like a house all the kids would congregate onto my porch. I had a swing and they’d pile in with their coo laid, or cokes, and chat all about their day at school, or what was going on with them at home and I’d sit there on the rug with the animals all around me, there dogs and mine and we’d talk till the mosquitos ran us in.

        Now that family’s broken due to domestic disfunction and violence and no decent mental health intervention they’re scattered to the wind and my nephew is headed back to his old life.

        If it weren’t for books to preserve the older times, we would for sure be lost.

        Oh gees I’ve gone and written a post. Sorry.

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  11. Oh, you don’t ever have to apologize about anything. I love all your posts, Interesting remembrances that were mine too. I am glad you reminded me about these. By the way, there have been times when I would have reposted or whatever it is called, but I have no clue how to do it. All I know how to do is push one of the web sites and do it that way. Hugs and many thanks, Anne

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  12. Thanks for sharing your book memories. I was not a reader as a child. My reading days actually started when I was in my early twenties. But I do remember some books from my childhood. One, a set called Journeys Through Bookland, was a series beginning with nursery rhymes and moving through with stories appropriate for the different age groups right up to a condensed version of Treasure Island, Swiss Family Robinson, etc. I just recently gave them to a young friend whose little one will soon be 2. Another book I remember but, for the life of me I can’t remember the name, had a picture of a baby chimp either on the cover or just inside the book. I have no recollection of the story. I also had a set of mini books in a cardboard tray with a cover that, when moved back and forth, looked as though there were moving characters on it. I never had any of the Little Golden Books or Nancy Drew books. I did have one of the Cherry Ames series and one or two of the Bobsey Twins. Maida’s Little Farm, Probable Sons and, I think, Black Beauty were some others I had. Now I have hundreds of books filling several bookcases. I love to read and often have several books on the go at the same time.

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    1. This is so amazing. I remember reading those books too (Treasure Island and Swiss Family Robinson) and likely as a child, but I did not have anything like Journeys Through Bookland. It sure has been a very interesting journey and adventure to learn about the books others have had. You definitely had ones I have not read. I could well go back and read every single children’s book with my cookies and milk like I used to do when I was a child. You have definitely mentioned ones I have never heard of, but I must learn more about. Thank you so much for the great share.

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      1. Oh! Chronicles of Narnia! How I did enjoy that book. Of course, you can read them all separately as well. But how wonderful those stories are. No matter how you experience them. Makes me want to go and download that book right now and read it again.

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  13. For Zenaide, I think when we were young, a little money went a very long way. My folks were by today’s standards, not wealthy at all, but we bought a 3-bedroom, 1-1/2 bath home made of brick, with a big strong concrete and stone fence around a nice big back yard, and we ate very well on that. Our home then cost us $5,000.00, and gas used to be around 30 cents a gallon, and that included the gas station men checking our oil and washing our windshields and even cleaning the bathrooms (which were very clean and nice in those days). We even had money to go for a nice ride at the end of the week and for the whole family to eat dinner out, and we are not talking MacDonald’s but a real restaurant. Yes, a lot has changed now, but children’s books were inexpensive mostly then and they were available at the libraries too. We had so much, and we didn’t know how much we had.

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    1. Wow! I wonder what years these were? I never heard of the five or the seven before, or back to back books. Are you in the U.S. or another country? Now you are bringing up another great book I too remember but had forgotten – Aesop’s Fables. They were a true classic. Thank you so much for bringing these forward. I am so glad to hear about them and will look them up. Peace and blessings, Anne

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  14. That makes sense, Jamie. It’s funny because I am taking a correspondence course from England sy Sue Vincent, Stuart France, and Steve Tanham – The Silent Eye Mystery School. This is so much fun to learn all these things about children’s books from everyplace. I guess something else in common that the people of the world have.

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    1. I am glad to see that you have hooked up with the silent I. How neat. I hope sometime you will right of your experiences with that. I read posts from that blog often. Share of them too.

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      1. I will endeavor to do that, Patty. I am getting ready to deal with another surgery on Richard, my significant other for his neck. He has had one there already and now needs another one. Hugs and blessings and white light for Campbell! Anne

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