As it just so happens, my sister is pregnant. So of course, being the nerd that I am, I threw her a bookish baby shower. We decorated with books, asked for books in lieu of cards, and generally had a pretty nerdy time.
But more than that, what’s exciting about having a new baby in the family is the idea of sharing some of our family’s favorite stories with a new generation. Reading has always been a huge part of my family. My mother made it a point to read to me and my siblings every night, which resulted in all of us being bookworms (we also all dream of having the library from Beauty & The Beast). It was instilled in us from a very early age that reading was important, reading made you smart, and reading a lot was what was going to get you ahead in life.
And it got me thinking about how a good chunk of my favorite stories are those I read when I was young. I find myself going back to them over and over again, wanting to return to those worlds that so captured my attention and my imagination in my childhood. I feel shaped by these stories, by Wonderland and Narnia, and I find them leaking into my writing and my relationship with other stories, even to the point where my senior thesis in college was about fantasy in children’s literature.
But the truth is, the stories we read as children do tend to stay with us more than others, whether it is simply because our minds are still being molded or because a child’s imagination is free from the burdens that are later placed on it. And we connect with the magic, we believe in talking mice and treehouses that can sail through time, we believe in trains that can and magic cauldrons of pasta. And maybe part of our adult selves do too.
Here are our favorite children’s stories. Please feel free to share some of yours!