RDPL Staff Favourites: Sentimental Childhood Books

RDPL Staff Favourites: Sentimental Childhood Books By Shannon LirondelleI fondly remember my childhood books. I was attracted to The Monster at the End Of This Book by Jon Stone and later I devoured the Choose your Own Adventure series founded by R.A. Montgomery. I have many memories of laughing and talking about the stories with my family and friends.  Those stories brought me so much joy and I learned that books = fun.

Do you remember your early reading gems?  Do we remember these books because we could imagine the characters and worlds or because we got lost in the story or artwork? Books may have taught us valuable life lessons, too. Literature can be both an escape and a powerful educational tool. Books play an important role during our childhood years and have a lasting effect into adulthood. Do you remember some of those books and takeaways? What are your most beloved childhood stories?

Red Deer Public Library staff have shared their most loved childhood books, and a few reasons why. Grab a tea and browse this list. We invite you to celebrate Canadian Library Month with us by revisiting some of your own favourite childhood titles!

Anne of Green Gables

My mom had a set and we weren't ever allowed to touch them - hence the appeal.  She would read them to my sister and I before bed and eventually the set made its way to both of us for our own reading.  My favourite family vacation was when we went to Prince Edward Island; specifically to see all things Anne. They will always remind me of my Mom.  – Amy

The Tale of Custard the Dragon 

It's a poem actually - a long one. Or at least it was when my mom helped me to memorize the entire thing in the 4th grade. The time we spent on it is a cherished memory for me and I still check it out about once a year so I can read it again. – Kareena

Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus

My teacher read this to the class when I was in grade 3 and I thought it was the funniest book. I just loved reading all of Junie's adventures and all the trouble she would get herself into. – Sarah

The Fantastic Flying Journey

It is about 3 kids and their great-uncle who travel the world in a house attached to a hot air balloon (way before the movie Up) and talk to the different animals they meet by using magic dust. It is a picture book but it is also very text-heavy so it was read over multiple nights by my mum for my sister and I. Growing up, I wished (and still do I guess) to be able to talk to animals so this book holds a special place in my heart. – Simon

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (specifically the Great Illustrated Classics edition), it was something my mom would read to me, and I learned to read to myself with that book. I think it plays a large part in how much I love nature and secrets and places that are magical. – Jenn


It holds a special place partly because I was so proud of myself figuring out how to pronounce Chrysanthemum all on my own, partly because the book is about how she's embarrassed about her name because everyone else in her class has short "normal" names. I hated my name for the opposite reason, I always thought it was boring. But the book taught me to love my name! – Jenn

The Kissing Hand

When I was little and going off to school for the very first time my mom kissed my palm and I think I held it to my cheek all day (I also kissed her palm because I figured she would miss me sooo much while away at kindergarten). It's such a comforting memory for me. – Sage

The Secret of the Old Clock

Nancy Drew books were an absolute obsession for me and I had to have them ALLLLL. This meant looking for ads in the paper (which means that my mom and dad had to look) to find all the books in the series. At one time I had the full set, including some of the same title that had been rewritten over the years. Now, I only have one that was given to my mother as a school prize in 1932ish. – Trish

The Ghost Ship Mystery

Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls

The Boxcar Children and Babysitters Club books, before they were comics! – Jill

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Our 6th grade teacher read us a chapter each day and we created the world of Willy Wonka in our own minds. It was a wonderful time of a sort of 'guided imagination'. – Kareena

Bridge to Terabithia

To this day, the books that stick with me the most always seem to be books that make me cry... so it's no wonder that Bridge to Terabithia, which I first read in third grade, was the very first truly unforgettable book that I ever read. – Candice

Little House on the Prairie

The library was my favourite place to be when I was growing up, and my safe place.  I was a latchkey kid and would spend literally HOURS at the library at Southgate Mall. It was the first book I picked out to read and I was hooked.  I was going to be a pioneer just like Laura and her family when I grew up. I couldn't get enough of the stories, the adventures, the songs and family interactions.  I still have my Little House Collection. – Shelley K

To view a full list of our staff book recommendations, click here! >>, opens a new window

Learning is so fun! It's also serious and important.  How-to manuals, YouTube tutorials and educational books are my jam.  My preferred book stack is mostly non fiction, with a very light sprinkling of fun fiction. Close to a 10:1 ratio. Like I said, it's serious!  If you are a lifelong learner like I am, let’s discover a new sliver of that Dewey decimal system together.

– Shannon

"An education is not a thing one gets, but a lifelong process." – Gloria Steinem