I can remember being a kid and my parents would try to get me to eat my carrots by telling me they were power pellets. This was in the 80s, and power pellets were the little circular wafers that Pac-Man needed to defeat the ghosts. I have to admit that their cunning plan worked pretty well since I always ate my carrots then, and still do now. Adults are good at this. They ignite your imagination and sense of fun and adventure while secretly sneaking it bits of their own agenda. In this case, their agenda was only getting me to consume a little vitamin A so I guess I can’t really complain.
Children’s books can sometimes so the same thing, but their agenda can be quite different. Here are some of my favorite books that ignited my sense of fun and adventure as a kid, but now looking back, I realize they were packed with a little Vitamin A.
The Berenstain Bears by Stan and Jan Berenstain
A series of children’s books that was huge in the 1980s. Think a G-Rated Simpsons. There is the goofy father that is always messing up, the mischievous son, the cautious daughter and the wise mom. Each book is a fun and entertaining read, yet it always contains a life lesson.
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
This was probably my first introduction to the world of fantasy and I was instantly hooked. To me, these books had it all, adventure, magic, witches and talking animals. It wasn’t until I reread these books as an adult that I realized it was also packed with religion. In the first book the Lion king Aslan is taunted, fitted with a thorn crown and killed by his enemies, only to “rise from the dead” and save the humans. Sound like a familiar story?
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
I first read this book in the 4th grade and instantly fell in love. This science fiction/fantasy novel contains generous amounts of fun, adventure, and suspense. I was recently feeling nostalgic and re-read it and was shocked to find how many excerpts from the bible and religious references it contains. I wonder if public schools still assign this book?
Ramona Quimby Books by Beverly Clearly
By far my favorite books as a kid, so much so that I have never gone back to re-read these and I want them to always stay perfect in my mind. Clearly spoke, pretty accurately, to young girls growing up through her main character, Ramona Quimby. Ramona had a knack for finding trouble and adventure wherever she went. Although each book did contain some life lessons, they weren’t as obvious as the other books on the list.