Were you a preadolescent girl of the 90s with an obsession for Lip Smackers, Skip-its, doodling in class and, of course, books? If so, you and I are soul mates. I was a book guzzler at that age. I would hop in my bike and cruise over to the library, where I’d spend an unnecessary (but totally awesome) amount of time running my fingers over the books in the pre-teen section, agonizing over which book I’d devour next.
I’m so grateful that these books shaped my nerdy bookish life! Without further ado, here are the ones I remember swooning over. What did I miss that you absolutely loved??
Who would have thought that the story of hungry, homeless kids could be a fun and uplifting read that kids like me would enjoy? The Boxcar Children was heartwarming and exciting. The books got a little too easy for me to read as I grew into a pre-teen (they’re written for ~ 7-year-olds), but I loved theses books and the stories they told. We had a box set of 4 of them, and the Boxcar Children being in a box set was almost too perfect for my bookish brain to handle.
If there’s one series that shaped my preadolescent life, this was it. Our library carried the whole series, and my best friend (who happens to still be my bestie and an LQ contributor, Becky) and I would voraciously read them all. We knew all of them, and could easily spot a new one on the shelf as our library got them. These books told the stories of girls’ (and a couple boys’) lives and experiences with America, from being a Native American to emigrating to the country to being a slave to voyaging on the Titanic. What an amazing way to reel kids in to learning about American history.
Ah yes, the one and only Babysitters Club. What shenanigans will they get into next? That was always the question. Although I wasn’t as huge of a fangirl of this series as some of my classmates were, I still read more than several of these books. There was always some sort of problem, and always a lesson learned. And we didn’t even know that we were being taught lessons while we were reading them! Pretty genius.
Little House on the Prairie
Be still, my heart! I had the whole set of these (heck, not embarrassed to admit I still have them), and I just devoured them. How could you not get super into an amazing story of a girl growing up on the wild prairie, and in those big woods? This series is definitely one of my top literary life shapers. I couldn’t get enough of how amazing Laura Ingalls Wilder was – how tough she could be, how brave she was…she was one of my first female literary crushes.
Beverly Cleary books were so. fun. What kind of trouble could Ramona get into next?? She was impish yet smart, and she captured my prepubescent attention with ease. I read my Ramona books so many times, I think my copy of Ramona Quimby, Age 8 got pretty well worn, for good reasons. It was an easy read for me, but the story never got old.
Magic School Bus
I was so obsessed with the whole Magic School Bus series, both in book and television show form. We owned a couple of the books (the one where they go inside Ralph’s body on a cheese noodle and the one where they go into space), and I watched the show every morning while I ate my magical dinosaur egg oatmeal before school. How could something so fun be so educational? The world may never know.