My Favorite Childhood Novels (Part 1)


While these are certainly not all of them…these are the books I read so many times I had parts memorized, the books that really helped shape me as a writer and a person. Even though they might be labeled as “juvenile fiction,” they are still some of my favorite books of all time and I highly recommend to all ages—though especially for ages 8-12 🙂 * STAY TUNED FOR MORE BOOKS!

LOVE, AUBREY by Suzanne LaFleur

A heartwarming story about a young girl learning to live through grief. LaFleur’s ability to so accurately tap into the eleven-year-old mind is incredible, and her storytelling is fluid and easy to read. Even for children who have never been through anything traumatic, I think they will still identify with young Aubrey’s struggles- for she is so authentic it is nearly impossible to not relate to her on some level, and this is why I think 11-year-old me just inhaled the story. Not because I had been through anything horrific, but because Aubrey was so impossible to not like or not empathize with.


A tragic accident has turned eleven-year-old Aubrey’s world upside down. Starting a new life all alone, Aubrey has everything she thinks she needs: SpaghettiOs and Sammy, her new pet fish. She cannot talk about what happened to her. Writing letters is the only thing that feels right to Aubrey, even if no one ever reads them.
With the aid of her loving grandmother and new friends, Aubrey learns that she is not alone, and gradually, she finds the words to express feelings that once seemed impossible to describe. The healing powers of friendship, love, and memory help Aubrey take her first steps toward the future. (Taken from Goodreads)


EIGHT KEYS by Suzanne LaFleur

A sweet coming-of-age story/mystery about bullying, friendship, and growing up. Like with Love, Aubrey, our main character, Elise, is authentic and relatable, and the story is compelling and full of truth and adventure all at once.


Elise and Franklin have always been best friends. Elise has always lived in the big house with her loving Uncle and Aunt, because Elise’s parents died when she was too young to remember them.  There’s always been a barn behind the house with eight locked doors on the second floor.
When Elise and Franklin start middle school, things feel all wrong. Bullying. Not fitting in. Franklin suddenly seems babyish.  Then, soon after her 12th birthday, Elise receives a mysterious key left for her by her father. A key that unlocks one of the eight doors upstairs in the barn… (Taken from Goodreads)


A thrilling adventure full of clean magic, evil nannies, magical rats, and brave heroines, this unique book is bursting with fun, exploration, and imagination. Jonell writes adventure stories with no fear and a lot of humor, with entertwined themes of family, friends, and bravery. There’s also two more books in the series just as good, if not better: Emmy and the Home for Troubled Girls and Emmy and the Rats in the Belfry.


Emmy was a good girl. At least she tried very hard to be good. She did her homework without being told. She ate all her vegetables, even the slimy ones. And she never talked back to her nanny, Miss Barmy, although it was almost impossible to keep quiet, some days.

She really was a little too good. Which is why she liked to sit by the Rat. The Rat was not good at all . . .

Hilarious, inventive, and irresistably rodent-friendly, Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat is a fantastic first novel from acclaimed picture book author Lynne Jonell. (Taken from Goodreads)


This is definitely my favorite series of all time. Adventure, fantasy, family, mythical-esq creatures, crazy characters, action, thrill, suspense, gentle thematics, and so much more. I cannot recommend it enough.

Once, in a cottage above the cliffs on the Dark Sea of Darkness, there lived three children and their trusty dog Nugget. Janner Igiby, his brother Tink, their crippled sister Leeli are gifted children as all children are, loved well by a noble mother and ex-pirate grandfather. But they will need all their gifts and all that love to survive the evil pursuit of the venomous Fangs of Dang who have crossed the dark sea to rule the land with malice and pursue the Igibys who hold the secret to the lost legend and jewels of good King Wingfeather of the Shining Isle of Anniera.

Andrew Peterson spins a quirky and riveting tale of the Igibys’ extraordinary journey from Glipwood’s Dragon Day Festival and a secret hidden in the Books and Crannies Bookstore, past the terrifying Black Carriage, clutches of the horned hounds and loathsome toothy cows surrounding AnkleJelly Manor, through the Glipwood Forest and mysterious treehouse of Peet the Sock Man (known for a little softshoe and wearing tattered socks on his hands and arms), to the very edge of the Ice Prairies.

Full of characters rich in heart, smarts, and courage, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness presents a world of wonder and a tale children of all ages will cherish, families can read aloud, and readers’ groups are sure to discuss for its layers of meaning about life’s true treasure and tangle of the beautiful and horrible, temporal and eternal, and good and bad. (Taken from Goodreads)


THE SECRET OF ZOOM by Lynne Jonell

Imagination and suspense combine to create this fantastical novel. I read this book so many times. Jonell so effortlessly taps into that childlike imagination and turns it into carefully crafted stories. There is some more intense content (children get trapped in a garbage truck), but it is all addressed lightheartedly and everything is clean.

Christina lives in an old stone mansion on the edge of a forest surrounded by barbed wire and signs that read TRESPASSERSWILL BE BOILED. Deep within the forest is the laboratory where her father works—and where her mother was blown to bits years ago. Christina is not supposed to talk to the orphans down the road. But when an orphan boy named Taft tells her of a secret tunnel, she finds it and helps him escape. Soon she and Taft discover there is far more to the orphanage and the mystery of her mother’s supposed death than they ever suspected. (Taken from Goodreads)






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