It’s the sixth day of Bookish Community Love Week, hosted by Erica of The Book Cellar. This week is dedicated to all the amazing people who make being a bookworm enjoyable! For more information about BCLW, check out this post here.
Today’s post is about favorite books! Now, I know what you’re thinking: the whole thing is just going to be various Diana Wynne Jones books, right? WRONG. For once, I’m deliberately making a list without any DWJ books on it, just to give them a fair chance. (For real though, y’all need to read Charmed Life already.)
So! I’ve picked three of my favorite books to highlight in this post. In honor of tomorrow’s Dog Days of Summer Readathon (which I’m participating in), I decided to focus on relatively unknown kidlit books from my childhood. They are:
I Go By Sea, I Go By Land by P.L. Travers
When German bombs began to fall in 1940, Sabrina Lind, with her young brother James, left home and parents in England to spend the war years with close friends in America. Sabrina kept a very personal diary, recording the swift departure and the dangling feeling of separation and strangeness afterward, the long journey across the ocean, and their adjustment to a new life, where a warm welcome, exciting new adventures and new friends helped to alleviate homesickness and constant worry for their parents’ safety. With warm touches, both tragic and humorous, Sabrina learned to accept changes in a life turned topsy-turvy.
P.L. Travers is more known for her Mary Poppins books (which I haven’t read yet; also there’s a movie coming out about that whole thing, did you know?) but this one is my favorite. It’s dreamy, kinda terrifying, and full of great characters. Plus there’s lots of travel, and you know I love my travel! Also, diaries. Also, WWII kids books.
The Summer the Spies Moved In by Mary Locke
Meg knows a spy when she sees one. And Irina, the daughter of the Russian diplomat who has just moved into the house across the street, is definitely a spy.
Irina is also stubborn, opinionated, and unlike anyone Meg has ever met.
But Meg will do anything to catch a spy — even if it means acting like Irina’s best friend!
This was written just as the Soviet Union was breaking up (1991), but since I didn’t know anything about that as a kid I just thought it was about Russian spies (which it is, kind of). I think this was one of the first spy vs spy books I read (Harriet the Spy doesn’t count because she’s the only one in her book doing the spying) and it’s fueled my loved for international intrigue ever since. It’s also a touching story about not being judgmental dunderheads! So that’s nice.
The Sylvia Game by Vivian Alcock
Emily hadn’t meant to get tangled up with the likes of Oliver Mallerton and his dead sister. She had only been tailing her artist father to find out why he had been acting so mysterious lately. She certainly never meant to get mixed up in the Sylvia Game, a game that sounded harmless, not like a game that would nearly cause the death of one boy and lead to the banishment of another.
This book is creepy! It’s creepy in the best way, by which I mean I never really understood wtf was going on until I read it, like, three times. I just knew it was spooky and atmospheric and amazing. It’s got troubled kids, a ghost, unsuitable parents, and other fun stuff! I’m actually planning on rereading it this weekend, so keep an eye out for a review of it later.
What’re your favorite kidlit books?