For my choice, I'm going back to the very first Top Ten Tuesday topic (of 116 currently posted).... Top Ten Childhood Favorites.
1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I wanted to live inside this book as a child. I don't even know how many times I read it, but I teared up when Beth died each and every time. I can even remember, as a fifth grader, reading that chapter to my male best friend, demanding, "Isn't this just the saddest thing you've ever heard?" (He did not agree.) I also deeply loved Little Men.
2. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. Again, I wanted to live inside these books. They inspired countless hours of imagination for my friends and me. I was totally determined to find a wardrobe, or a lampost, or some yet-undiscovered magical portal to Narnia. And when I got a bit older and came to understand the Christian undertones, well, all the better. Re-read this entire series over and over again (all except Prince Caspian, which I didn't really enjoy), but Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Last Battle were my favorites.
3. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. I remember this being the first real series that I read, and it probably came not too long after my introduction to "chapter books." The first book was my favorite to act out, and I remember organizing neighborhood kids (who had never read the series) into various roles (then being mad when they didn't play the parts right). I started reading this series aloud to my oldest daughter last year, when she was 5, and while that was probably a bit young for her to understand it all, she has loved it (and we just let concepts like "uranium mines" go over her head for the time being).
4. The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Again, re-read the entire series countless times and acted out epic storylines in my backyard. I totally wanted to be a pioneer girl. I remember Farmer Boy and By the Banks of Plum Creek being my favorites (and The Long Winter and The First Four Years being my least favorites).
5. The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. This series consists of The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer, and The High King. I loved every last one of them. They were one of my earliest forays into the world of fantasy novels, which remains one of my favorite genres today.
6. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. So, so good. So many quirky characters and plot twists. I never got tired of re-reading this one. In fact, I think I'm probably about due for a re-read now!
7. Bridge to Terebithia by Katherine Paterson. Such a sad book! I don't really know why I returned to this one over and over again, as it made me cry each time. I just loved Leslie's imagination and seeing how the power of stories transformed Jesse's life.
8. The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. What an adventure for Claudia and Jamie! Running away from home (admittedly for silly reasons), surviving on their own in such a glamorous location, and solving a mystery to boot.
9. The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. Four imaginative kids create their own private world of ancient Egypt, but reality has a scary way of interfering.... This was another one that inspired many hours of imagination for me and my friends.
10. The Encyclopedia Brown series by Donald Sobol. These short stories were just the best. I loved how Encyclopedia solved all of his cases through logic and was often smarter than the grown-ups. These inspired my friends and I to run our own detective agency as kids.
Ah, how I loved the books of my childhood! Just making this list has reminded me of tons of others that I want to include.....for example, A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle, which remains one of my all-time favorites (and only didn't make this list because I read it when I was a little older than the other books listed here). I so look forward to sharing all these great books with my own kids!