Schoolhouse Reading Gems

apple_on_book_bigNow that school is out, it has me thinking about my school days. I keep thinking about the books I chose to read and had to read in school, and decide to write about my favorite experiences. Now in high school I had a fierce addiction to Dean Koontz and Steven King, so it took a lot for me to want to read anything else. However, throughout elementary and high school there were several books that either impacted me as a reader, or just stayed with me.

Here are the books I read in school that I most treasure:

The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe
By C.S. Lewis
I didn’t read this in school on my own, the series was read to us during class. I can remember waiting all day in anticipation for story time to hear this book. I fell in love with C.S. Lewis and he is my favorite author to this day.

Rated 4.7 on

By Ronald Dahl
I remember us reading this together as a class and being completely in love with it. There were other stories by Ronald Dahl that I loved as well including “James and The Giant Peach” and “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.”

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Number The Stars
Lois Lowry
This was the first chapter book I read on my own from school, and I was completely mesmerized by it. This is the book that sparked my fascination with the Holocaust and WWII. I still love reading WWII memoirs, historical fiction, and the like.

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Jeremy Thatcher Dragon Hatcher
By Bruce Coville
This book I picked up from a school book fair. School book fairs were the highlight of the year for me. I usually only got to pick one book, and I remember every day looking through the books weighing and analyzing them to decide which would be my treasure. I loved this book, and it started my love of Fantasy Fiction.

Rated 4.6 on

The Indian in The Cupboard
By Lynne Reid Banks
Another book we read together as a class. I don’t remember why I enjoyed this book so much, I just know that I did. I can remember constantly reading ahead of the class, because I hated stopping.
Part of me would like to read it again just to see what I think of it now.

Rated 4.6 on

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
By Avi
I’ve written about this book before, because I loved it so much. It was also a School Book Fair treasure, and by far the best one I ever got. I was in love with this story through and through, and I remember
carrying the book with me everywhere ย I went.
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Animal Farm
By George Orwell
One of the Jr. High required reading books that I most enjoyed, there were others that were okay like Fahrenheit 451,ย but this is the one that stuck with me. I remember thoroughly enjoying it’s weird quirkiness, but also it’s depth and meaning. “1984” is another Orwell classic on my recent TBR list.

Rated 4.4 on

Of Mice and Men
By John Steinbeck
The ever famous small yet poignant classic. This book packed so much great literature into such a small package. I loved it, and I love Steinbeck. It was because of this book that I sought out other Steinbeck treasures. I have not read as many as I’d like but everything I’ve read is gold, and I look forward to the ones still awaiting my time.

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To Kill a Mockingbird
By Harper Lee
Another treasured classic I can thank my high school required reading list for. This book was moving and stayed with me. I later watched the movie which I equally loved (doesn’t happen often.) Watching this also started me watching black and white classics. Although I have to thank Carry Grant in “Arsenic and Old Lace” for really fueling my love for classic movies.

Rated 4.7 on

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
By Ken Kesey
It’s hard to say what I liked so much about this book… Maybe it was how simplistically complicated Randle was. I was also very intrigued by the picture of mental health that this book paints; how we think about and treat people. It was such an interesting and gripping story. Although I am not a fan of sad endings, the sadness is what made me really think about the story on a deeper level.

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These are books that had an impact on me as a reader. Books that moved me and/or got be thinking about life and about literature.

What books did you read in your school years that impacted you?


40 thoughts on “Schoolhouse Reading Gems

  1. Cafe Bean, your posts are always excellent! Thinking of my first books, I could not get enough of the Nancy Drew series. I wish I kept the many hardback books I so loved! At the age of ten, Gone With the Wind changed by reading habits. I can’t remember, but I know spending summers reading was the best thing in the whole world!! Now you have me thinking!!

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  2. In 4th grade, my first science fiction book: Rusty’s Spaceship by Evelyn Sibley Lampman. Not long after that, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. The Gammage Cup by Carol Kendall. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and LotR. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. So many more…

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  3. Not really school books but I read the Hardy Boys mysteries as fast as I could but don’t remember a single plot. But Robinson Crusoe and Tom Sawyer are carved into my mind forever. Deserted islands, black caves, treasures, injuns, what boy could resist?

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  4. I was fiercely devoted to James Clavell novels in highschool. As for books I studied…. in my independent study I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Although it was a bit too heady for me at the time, I did manage to get something out of it. I also read Siddhartha, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, A Stranger in a Strange Land, and everything I could find of Harlan Ellison–which wasn’t much until I stumbled across a treasure at a used bookstore in London, Ontario.

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  5. The diary of a young girl by Anne frank, R.K Narayan’s Malgudi days (you should definitely check out this) and few short stories like Evan tries an On level full of mystery and fun. Your post remonds me of school days #Nostalgic *_*

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  6. Pingback: Schoolhouse Reading Gems – worldtraveller70

  7. I fell in love with reading the Bible early on. Unlike a lot of people, I was fascinated by the Old Testament history. This led me to read the “We were there” historical series for children. They each featured a child’s eye view of a historical event. In the ninth grade, I had an English teacher who got me interested in Greek mythology. I went from reading about the Greek myths to reading The Iliad and The Odyssey and the Greek playwrights, then I ready Livy’s History of Rome and take two years of Latin. As a part of that experience, I read Rex Warner’s fictional biographies of Julius Caesar and Imperial Caesar. Also another writer I loved was Howard Pyle. His Adventures of Robin Hood and King Arthur fired up my imagination. But of all the books and stories I read, it was Jack the Giant Killer that fired up my imagination and made me want to tell stories.

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  8. I read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ in college, and I still like it today. Sometimes It feels like a journalistic commentary of the time it’s set in, and I can see how it influenced the work of one of my favourite authors: Hunter S Thompson.

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  9. I really liked your list. Some of my favorites from Elementary, High School, College and all those Library summer reading contests are:The Little House on the Prairie books, :Boxcar series, Wind in the Willows, Robin Hood, anything Dckens, The Good Earth, Moby Dick, Anne Frank, Anne of Green Gables, War and Peace, and Gone with the Wind! Wow, what an eclectic group!

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