Revisiting childhood books

Some students are finding themselves with extra time on their hands, so WSS staffer Maddy Smith is revisiting some beloved childhood books that might be worth a reread.

Everyone has stories that instantly transport them back to childhood. They are filled with nostalgia from the cover to the acknowledgments. In times like these, with stress and the unknown banging at the door, a little trip down memory lane might be therapeutic. Here is a list of childhood favorites definitely worth diving back in. 

At the top of the list is the “Harry Potter” series. This eight-book series takes the reader on a ride of magic, wonder and mystery. The books start very light-hearted, featuring orphan Harry on his journey into the wizarding world. Over the course of the series, the reader begins to see the dark side of magic as the villains become more lethal. Recurring arch-nemesis Voldemort appears over the series in different forms, harder to defeat each time. This series definitely grows with the reader. In 2016, a new addition to the franchise appeared in British theaters. “The Cursed Child” tells the tale of the next generation of wizards trying to fill their parents’ shoes. 

Next in line is “Percy Jackson and the Olympians.” This series features Percy Jackson on his quest to save the world. He discovers that he is a demigod son of Poseidon, the sea god. Author Rick Riordan does an amazing job giving Percy his sarcastic and loveable personality. As the series progresses, Riordan excels at allowing his characters to mature while maintaining the traits that keep readers coming back. It is for this reason he continues to create new story-lines, with familiar characters occasionally making appearances.  

Riordan excels at allowing his characters to mature while maintaining the traits that keep readers coming back.”

— Maddy Smith '22

Some may not consider S.E Hinton’s “The Outsiders” novel a childhood classic, but it sends me directly back to my sixth grade English class when the only thing I worried about was the cute guy sitting next to me. The Outsiders can be classed as the coming-of-age story of Ponyboy Curtis. The story is set in 1965 with a war between the privileged upper-class Socs and the leather-wearing Elvis-loving Greasers. After a fight between Ponyboy and his friend Johnny and the Socs that leaves a Soc dead, Pony and Johnny must flee. Along the way, the boys and their entire gang of friends learn lessons of love, friendship, and the classes that divide society. 

Diary of a Wimpy Kid” was a staple of the school library. Rarely were they all in-stock, as they were in high demand. These stories illustrate the life of Greg Heffley, a boy with a dorky best friend, an evil older brother, and an annoying younger brother. With a dysfunctional family and what seems like the entire student body against him, he goes to desperate measures to climb the social ladder. Along with the installment of movies based on the books, author Jeff Kinney continues to produce these light-hearted tales. 

The Hunger Games” is another series that might have been mature for children but is still a blast from the past. This series is another coming of age tale featuring Katniss Everdeen, a bitter girl with a bite to match her bark. She sacrifices herself for her sister when she is chosen to compete in the Hunger Games, a to-the-death survival competition. Along with her district partner Peeta, Katniss learns that letting people in isn’t a weakness and struggles to find herself all while fighting an oppressive government. 

Along with her district partner Peeta, Katniss learns that letting people in isn’t a weakness and struggles to find herself all while fighting an oppressive government. ”

— Maddy Smith '22

If you are looking for a tale to send you to a backward world, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Caroll is the perfect throwback. Alice, a little girl lacking the attention span for her lessons, wanders off following a rabbit with a pocket watch, before falling down a rabbit hole into Wonderland. Along the way, Alice meets kooky creatures and odd characters. While trying to make her way back home, Alice realizes that maybe her life isn’t quite so bad after all. 

Transporting you all the way back to the dingy classroom carpet for reading time is “The Box-Car Children.” This large collection of books contains over 150 titles. The original novel tells the tale of orphans Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny as they battle with their nosy neighbors who are trying to interfere in their living situation. They use an abandoned boxcar to run their lives while evading their distant grandfather.