Retro Reads for a Sizzling Summer!

Palm-Shaded Beach at the Southernmost Point of the United States.

I was inspired by @KateMilford‘s summer reads table at McNally Jackson to come up with my own list of books I’d include on a summer reads table somewhere. I have a not-so-secret love of retro kids books, especially ones that remind me of my own childhood summers where I’d read about three a day, and then reread all of them multiple times a year whenever I ran out of new books (which was often).

This list is full of some of my favorite older (as in pre-1990) kids books, ones that I think would make a lazy summer afternoon about ten times better than it already is. And the best part is that you don’t even have to be a kid to enjoy them!

Also, I’m kind of thinking of making this list a readalong challenge thingy for over the summer. What do you think? Would you join in if I did it?

Thanks to Once Upon a Bookshelf for the list-y inspiration!

14 thoughts on “Retro Reads for a Sizzling Summer!”

    1. It’s creepy and GOOD, and you totally should reread it. 😀

      Another book that’s sort of along the same lines is Woman in the Wall by Patrice Kindl. No dolls, but it’s got the same themes of acceptance and courage and secret areas behind public ones. You might like that one, too! (If you haven’t already read it, I mean.)

  1. Oh, The Long Secret! I loved The Long Secret — I always thought that when I grew up I would grow to understand why the grown-ups in The Long Secret acted that way, but I only sort of ever did. I super want to reread it now! For some reason it reminds me of The Great Gatsby.

    1. The first time I read it I had NO idea wtf was happening to Beth Ellen. Then I reread it about three years later and finally understood. Ha!

  2. The Phantom Tollbooth scared the crap out of me when I was kid! For some reason the doldrums were just too horrifying.

    The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankenweiler is a great book. If I had lived anywhere near a museum when I was a kid, I totes would have run away and tried to live in it.

    1. I thought the movie was way creepy! The doldrums were pretty terrifying in either medium.

      And yeah, I totally wanted to live in a museum (still do, actually).

  3. What a fun list! I read Phantom Tollbooth for the first time over the weekend. The rest are new to me. Some because I’m probably older than you and some because the libraries I had access to only had books that were older than me.

    1. The library where I grew up had mostly older books as well, actually, which is how I came to read most of these. Yay for older books! (Although some newer ones would have been nicer as well, I’ll admit.)

  4. This list brought a smile to my face even though I haven’t read anything on it! I love Judy Blume books when I was younger but I don’t think I ever read Starring Sally J. Friedman. I’m adding everything to my summer tbr list. Thanks, A! 🙂

    1. Yay! Sally J. is probably my favorite JB book besides Blubber– not that I’ve actually read a ton of JB books. Anyway, I hope you enjoy them!

  5. I LOVE this list. I haven’t read all of them, but it’s just great. I got a few of them at the library sale. I really should reread those — Phantom Tollbooth, Anastasia Krupnick (I LOVED her when I was a preteen) and The Westing Game are some I loved.

    1. I know! It’s been way too long since I last read these books (which is partly why I made this list).

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