When I was young, so much of my young life revolved around books. It all started with Beauty and the Beast and that fancy Library. I remember thinking that I wanted a library just as big and full of books as the Beast had.
Before I knew it, I was spending my time at the library more than anywhere else. I would use the school library at lunch and I would often beg my mother to take me to the library after school. Now that Summer has arrived I am reminded of the times I used to enter the summer reading program at the library and it sure takes me back!
I've learned so much throughout the years and I have to give some credit to the following 12 books from the 90's.
Scary Isn't That Scary
Goosebumps (1992) by R.L Stine
Along with Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, Goosebumps was a quintessential "scary" series of my time. I think the telling of scary things was just a huge fad when I was younger. It was the thing to bring to slumber parties and camp outs. Although at first these books did scare me I started to notice that the more I read, the more my fear disappeared. I learned that scary wasn't all that scary as it turns out.
Sitting & Finding Can Be Fun
I Spy (1992) by Jean Marzollo
What I remember the most about these books is that they were inescapable. I remember one of my favorite places to go as a child was Barnes & Nobles with my mom. Our plan always was that I would go into the children's section to sit and play I Spy while she shopped. The moment we got inside I would run to "my section" to utilize every second I had while she shopped. I would scour the pages of I Spy and try to find all the things on the list. It was just plain easy fun and I always enjoyed it.
Different Can Be Good
The Rainbow Fish (1992) by Marcus Pfister
I won't lie, I would mostly read The Rainbow Fish for the pretty pictures as a young kid. It wasn't until I was much older that I realized that it was a story about sharing. I used to think it was all about individuality and at the time it made me sad to see the foil fish just swimming about with no other one like it. I remember thinking that it was a shame he didn't have any friends, but I eventually learned to love the foil fish for his individuality and kindness.
Laughter Is Good Medicine
The Stinky Cheese Man (1992) by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
The Stinky Cheese Man And Other Fairly Stupid Tales was an amazing book in my childhood. My teacher would ask us to sit around her in a circle and to read us a story from the book. Although it was a book meant to poke fun at traditional fairy tales, The Stinky Cheese Man only made us laugh. We loved that this was another take on fairy tales.
Pony Pals (1995) by Jeanne Betancourt
Ponies were the "Frozen" and Twilight of my time. My generation of girly girls were very much about their ponies and if you couldn't afford one, you read Pony Pals. I remember asking for a pony on an almost daily basis and my parents would constantly say it wasn't possible. I would be sad, but would go right back to reading my pony books. I would tell myself that in the future I would just be a vet and work with ponies all the time. The stories that the main characters went through taught me a love for all kinds of animals.
Creativity & A Love Of Writing
Amelia's Notebook (1995) by Marissa Moss
I remember seeing Amelia's Notebook in the library at my school for the first time and was instantly in love! The book looked like a real composition book inside and out and it looked like it was written by someone my age.The Amelia's Notebook series sparked my interest for writing and creating. I went on to create my own diary every year that I was in school and still have them to this day.
Animorphs (1996) by K.A Applegate
The Animorphs series was unique because at the corners of every page was a printed version of the main character and the animal that they would transform into by the end of the book. If you flipped through the pages it created a flip book. All the Animorphs books were the same at heart. There was an alien invasion and the young hero would suddenly get an animal type of power that he would need to use in order to fight off the aliens. The stories would build on each other and were filled with plot twists and cliffhangers. This series fueled my curiosity for adventure and what it takes to be a hero.
Love For All That Is Detective Work
Magic Tree house (1996) by Mary Pope Osborne
The Magic Tree House series was the only mystery book I enjoyed reading. I was completely taken by Mary Pope Osborne's writing style. When I was reading I felt that I could very easily dive into the story and go on an adventure. The magic tree house that was the HQ in all of the books, was really a time machine that the main characters would take in order to go back in time and solve a mystery. It was a really fun ride and made me a little sad I didn't have a magic treehouse.
Harry Potter (1997) by J.K Rowling
I could provably write an entire Harry Potter sized book on how much I loved Harry Potter as a child and continued to love it well into adulthood. I remember one day being out with my parents who were stopping at the store to get some food before giving me money to go get a manicure as a treat for getting good grades in school, when I saw the newest Harry Potter book had come out. My eyes grew wide and I immediately begged my parents to buy me the book instead of the manicure. My parents agreed and the moment I got home I started reading my new book. What I realize now is that the Harry Potter books grew with me. I remember studying for the SATs and seeing a lot of the words I needed to learn in my newest Harry Potter book. Suddenly I was starting to get into Honors classes at school and I realized that the books I read were starting to have a positive impact on me, which only fueled my love for reading more.
Captain Underpants (1997) by Dav Pilkey
Captain Underpants was the most entertaining and hilarious book I remember reading, It was just so different from everything else I had read before. The best part about Captain Underpants was how much fun I had reading the story of a superhero that was actually a school principle. It was really funny because I never liked comics, and so my first introduction to anything like superheros or comic related was this book series.
A Different Kind Of Princess
Ella Enchanted (1997) by Gail Carson Levine
The first fairy tale book that really made sense to me was Ella Enchanted. I didn't realize this was a Cinderella story until I became an adult. I loved the struggles Ella had to go through to become a caring and understanding princess. This book was filled with excitement and adventure and it was very easy for me to feel as if I could really engage with the book in a personal way. Ella felt like a real princess to me and her struggles only made her even more likable in my mind.
Holes (1998) by Luis Sachar
I remember Holes very fondly because it was a book that my teacher read to us the last few days of summer school. She read to us the entire class time for the last 3 days of summer school and it was intense. We would gather around her in a circle intently listening to her every word. The Entire class was so incredibly engaged with her that we would get sad and groan if she put the book down. It was suspenseful and we couldn't believe how much hard work the main character would do to dig these holes for a "bad guy". There was 15 minutes left until the end of summer school and we were on the edge of our seats waiting to see if she would finish reading the book. She finished in the nick of time and everyone clapped and thanked her. Best Summer Ever.
How about you? Did you have a favorite book in the 1990's that taught you something so great it stays with you today?