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My Top Three Childhood Books

By Edited Jun 11, 2015 4 9

Sometimes you just have to sit down and reminisce. When I do that I think back to my school days and often about the things I would rather forget; at other times though I will think about books I read back in the days of school, something I don't do now after the introduction of the computer and Kindle. These are probably the three books I remember best from my school days.

The three novels that I have here for you though are still in my collection as books. They usually sit proudly on my shelf and I must admit I pick them up, look at them and wonder why I still don't read them along Quantum Mechanics for Dummies. They are books that meant something to me as a child and still mean something to me now; I remember about the plot, although not in huge detail and when I finally get the chance to sit down and read them as a profitable writer myself they will be in my mind again.

My Friend Walter - Michael Morpurgo

My Friend Walter(107343)
If my daughter's bedroom smelt of cigar smoke, I would not think that she was at fault; although at 8 months old I would be worried if she was. This is just one of the things that Bess got in trouble for as she hid the presence of her secret friend; a man whom she had only recently learnt was a long lost ancestor. That man was Sir Walter Raleigh. 

In my first top childhood book Bess learns this from an old man at a family reunion, and she went to the Tower of London to feel part of his life while incarcerated; she was eventually talking to an old man, the ghost of Sir Walter Raleigh.

When Bess' family fall into financial trouble Sir Walter tries to help in ways that even now you still end up incarcerated; his well intentions making things worse as he tries to correct the mistakes that he makes in the modern world. It does not help of course that Sir Walter is blinded by revenge on families that have blighted his own for generations.

This was a top book that took me into a fantasy world as a child. I remember buying it from a book service provided by my school, I still have the battered and tatty paperback on my bookshelf, ready to read to my own little Bess one day.

To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

"Courage is not a man with a gun in his hand. It's knowing you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do."[4542]

Once the staple of every British child's school reading list; it is unusual for the national curriculum to acknowledge an American novel to be in almost every school bag in the country.

As a child I was captivated by the story. Three children almost investigating this mysterious man that very few of the small towns residents want anything to do with; a mysterious man that prefers to keep himself to himself. The father of two of the children is a white lawyer who gets caught up defending a black man called Tom; something frowned upon in the 1930's Southern US and something that led to two of the children being attacked by tom's accusers.

As a university student I remember reading the book again, now being able to understand the subtleties of the institutional racism in the American town being described; the realisation that townsfolk would readily listen to an alcoholic over a black man and reflecting loosely on the "revolution of black and white segregation" of the 1950's when Harper Lee was writing the novel.

But a mysterious man came to save the children's day, is it the same mysterious man?

The Diary of Adrian Mole - Sue Townsend

"...Sunday July 18th.
My father announced at breakfast that he is going to have a vasectomy. I pushed my sausages away untouched...."[4541]

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole
Sue Townsend's collection of diaries were something completely different to me in the 1990's. At a time when I had to read Dickens and Shakespeare for an English Literature class here was a story written about a kid my age and in the form of a diary. The book series spun off a number of TV shows as well as a number of book sequels to the original The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 and 3/4. Indeed even now in 2012, Sue Townsend is still working on yet another sequel, due to be published in November 2013.

"The Diaries" are published just as that. It follows Adrian who was born to working class parents in Leicester; trying to be failed great publisher of his own literary work Lo! The Flat Hills of My Homeland and the story of his life through moving to London, writing a TV Series that never got commissioned and the loves of his life, left-wing politics, his parents and his teenage-love Pandora Braithwaite later to become a trouble doctor of Mandarin, Russian and Serbo-Croat.

Adrian Mole's friends and acquaintances are an eclectic motley crew; from the communist pensioner that was Adrian's charitable deed for his school years (Bert Baxter) to an endless array of girlfriends that any mother would disapprove of.

These books are the most poignant of my childhood, I could have selected That Scottish Play by Shakespere or a range of literature from Charles Dickens, but I was not one to read traditionally, something the education system probably hated in it's children. I was glad when I finally got my adult privileges in the local library, it opened up the hardback collection from one Issac Asimov.

These have been the three books that I have kept from my childhood. I am sure you have some too, tucked away in the corner of your bookshelf, or in a loft next to the high-school year book; waiting to be read to your next generation of children who will ask if it is available on Kindle, or even made into a movie.



Aug 8, 2012 1:34am
Great article. To Kill a Mocking Bird is my all time favourite book. I'd forgotten all about Adrian Mole but I loved that as a kid too. Congrats on the feature.
Aug 8, 2012 5:27am
Great collection. Its amazing how we tend to keep the books that made an impact on us as children. I'm seeing the same thing with my kids as they have their favorites as well.
Aug 8, 2012 10:50am
Congratulations on the feature, these three books are wonderful! Oh, and FYI, I'd be concerned too if I smelled cigar smoke in my 8-month's old room (lol). Thumbs-up.
Aug 8, 2012 7:05pm
Favorite books make great friends, and they help you to escape to another time and place. This is a great featured selection; congratulations! Thumbs Up!
Aug 9, 2012 6:21am
Thank you for your kind comments everyone.
Aug 9, 2012 8:01am
Love the list Darren, nice article!

I loved Enid Blyton books, Famous Five. I guess I am old fashioned as I like Frances Hodgeson Burnett stories too, "The Secret Garden" and "A little Princess".

Anything by Roald Dahl was awesome, I used to bug the librarians to order the new books as they were published and always read them first! I think the Twits was one of my favourite (still have it) and the Horrible nursery rhymes one. And of course Charlie and the Chocolate factory.

"Stig of the Dump" was good too from school and "Kizzy", and I remember reading "My family and other animals" by Gerald Durrell and it spurred me on to read all the others too. Those were hilarious books.

I was the same age as Adrian Mole when those were written and devoured them all as they were written too! Wow this brought back some memories!
Aug 10, 2012 7:05am
Great article!
I grew up in Europe and so therefore I had different children's books.
I'm curious about your books and hope I can find them.

Thumbs Up!
Aug 11, 2012 11:20pm
To Kill A Mockingbird was one of my favorites too! Great article!
Aug 11, 2012 11:56pm
wow great article friend:)
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  1. Townsend, S. The Growing Pains of Adrian mole. United Kingdom: Methuen, 1984.
  2. Lee, H. To Kill a Mockingbird. united States: J.B. Lippincott & Co, 1960.
  3. Morpurgo, M. My Friend Walter. united Kingdom: William Heinemann, 1988.

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