A friend of mine posted a question of Facebook asking:
Those of you who were elementary schoolers in the late 70s and 80s: Could you please share a few books that you read then that meant a lot to you? Or that you just super loved?
I responded right away without thinking. The “Little House” books and the “Great Brain” books.
My friend’s post went on to generate 97 comments, including a couple from her old Bookmobile driver! OY!
I loved scanning through the list so much (as did others) that I decided to compile the list of books here. This is a combined effort, so I take no credit for the super-awesomeness of this list, other than being grateful for having readerly friends with even more, similarly bookish friends.
Note: The links go to to Goodreads.com, where you can see the old covers, read reviews, and order if you want, from Amazon, Powells, B&N, Kindle, Indiebooks, or many others, including my fave, Paperbackswap.com.
A List of Books for Elementary School Kids, Compiled (in No Particular Order) by some Great Brains of the ’70s.
- The Little House series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- The Great Brain series, by John D. Fitzgerald.
- My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
- Beezus and Ramona, (the series) by Beverly Cleary
- Beverly Cleary in general!
- The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis
- Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
- Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
- The Hundred Dresses by by Eleanor Estes, Louis Slobodkin (Illustrations)
- Madeleine L’Engle books (such as A Wrinkle in Time)
- Babysitter’s Club Books by Ann M. Martin
- All-of-a-Kind Family series by Sydeny
- The Cricket in Times Square and Harry Cat’s Pet Puppy by George Seldon
- Hotel for Dogs by Lois Duncan
- The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
- Lafcadio, The Lion Who Shot Back by Shel Silverstein
- Doctor De Soto by William Steig
- Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
- Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery
- The Encyclopedia Brown series by Donald J. Sobol
- The 18th Emergency by Betsy Byars
- Ginger Pye, and the Moffats Series, by Eleanor Estes
- Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
- Trixie Belden mysteries by Julie Campbell
- Anything by author Edward Eager (Time Garden, Half Magic, Knight’s Castle, etc.),
- A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
- The ‘Gypsy’ Horse Trilogy by Sharon Wagner (A Horse Named Gypsy, Gypsy and the Moonstone Stallion, Gypsy and Nimblefoot)
- Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorenson
- The Bunnicula series by Deborah Howe and James Howe
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (more for teens and grown-ups!)
- The Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace
- The Velvet Room and The Egypt Game, both by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
- The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner
- The Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series by Betty MacDonald
- The Hardy Boys series by Franklin W. Dixon
- The Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene
- Jacob I Have Loved by Katherine Paterson
- Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
- Danny Dunn and the Homework Machine (#3 of a series) by Jay Williams
- Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
- The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
- Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
- Anything by author E. Nesbit
- Black and Blue Magic by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
- From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
- The Henry Reed Series by Keith Robertson
- Happy Hollisters series by Jerry West, et al
- Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien
- The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I mean Noel) by Ellen Raskin
- A Ring of Endless Light, in the Austin Family series by Madeleine L’Engle
- Ballet Shoes (#1 of the ‘Shoes’ Series) by Noel Stratfield
- Nate the Great series by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
- Black Cauldron (Book #2 of The Chronicles of Prydain series) by Lloyd Alexander
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
- Smoky, the Cowhorse by Will James
- Watership Down by Richard Adams
- The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carroll
- The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
- Pippy Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
- A Day no Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
- The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
- D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Ingri d’Aulaire and Edgar Parin d’Aurlaire
- The Cat Ate My Gymsuit by Paula Danziger
- Mrs. Mike by Benedict Freedman and Nancy Mars Freedman
- Ice Cream for Two by Clare Turlay Newberry
- Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
- The Phantom Tollbooth by Norman Juster
- The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
- Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
- Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster & Elaine Showalter
- Old Yeller by Fred Gipson
- The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
- David Eddings fantasy series, The Belgariad and The Mallorean
- The Borrowers series by Mary Norton
- A Long Way from Chicago (Trilogy) by Richard Peck
- James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
I am sure there are so many more! Also, I am sure there other awesome “great books” lists out there, but what I loved about this list was the nostalgia of it, the smell of the old library coming back to us as we were all listing our favorites!
This particular list is limited to books loved by young readers in and around the ’70s, the ones we are now passing down to our own kids.
Do you have any to add to the list? Books in different genres, of poetry, or something just blatantly missing?