Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. The meme was originally the brainchild of The Broke and the Bookish. This week marks TTT’s 10th anniversary! The topic is Top Ten Tuesday Turns 10!; it offers a chance to revisit a topic you didn’t get the opportunity to participate in. I had actually started compiling this post for April 27, 2020, when the topic was Books I Wish I Had Read As a Child.
Before I get started… Happy 10th Anniversary to Top Ten Tuesday! I have participated off and on since 2013, and have discovered quite a few favorite bloggers through the TTT meme.
Books I read and loved as an adult
The Harry Potter series didn’t come out until I was in my 30s, with a child of my own. But as a lonely, bookish child, I would have loved its blend of magic, friendship, boarding school, and adventure.
I didn’t discover Tamora Pierce until I was in my early 40s, and her first book wasn’t released until I was in college, so I couldn’t have read them as a child. I love them now, but I know they would have made a huge impression on me as a child… especially as a girl growing up in the ’70s, hungry for fantasy about capable, intelligent, kick-ass girls. I’m counting each of these as separate series: the Song of the Lioness quartet, the Immortals quartet, the Protector of the Small quartet (pictured above), and the Circle of Magic quartet.
I first read and fell in love with The Perilous Gard (Elizabeth Marie Pope) in my college years, but I would have loved its blend of historical fiction, magical-realism-bordering-on-fantasy, and a hint of romance, if I had read it in my tween years.
I stumbled on Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series in my twenties, but if I had discovered it sooner, it would have earned a treasured place on my bookshelves beside Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles and C. S. Lewis’s Narnia books. (Once I found them, the series earned that place anyway!)
I would have devoured Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus quintets and his Kane Chronicles and Magnus Chase trilogy if they had been around when I was a child — not only because they are exciting, fast-paced, and witty, but because they feature an increasingly diverse cast. My childhood reading was overwhelmingly populated by white protagonists… not by choice, but because that’s mostly what was available. It would have been very good for me to read more diversely at that age.
Another series I would have loved is Stephanie Burgis’s diverse series featuring dragons, Tales from the Chocolate Heart. Although it’s set in a fantasy world reminiscent of medieval/Renaissance Europe, there are characters of color and characters who may be LGBTQ+ — something seen only rarely in children’s fantasy until recently. And besides, they are delightful and just plain fun!
The Castle Gower series by Jessica Day George wasn’t published until my own child was almost too old for them, but I love the charm and whimsey of this series, and would have been delighted by the books at around the age I discovered the Narnia and Prydain books.
Books I still haven’t read
I never read any of these books as a child, and haven’t read them yet! They are on my TBR list, and I still plan to read them someday, because honestly, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy a well-written children’s book, even as an adult.
- E. Nesbit’s Five Children and It, The Phoenix and the Carpet, and The Railway Children — and possibly her other books as well. Classic children’s literature.
- Stephanie Burgis’s Kat, Incorrigible series. I’ve read the first one novel, and loved it, but I still need to read the rest.
- The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente, and perhaps the rest of that series.
Are there children’s fantasy books you think I should add to this list? Please share them in the comments!