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20 Books that Opened the Door to Reading

We asked you on our Facebook page what was that one book that first got you reading. For me, it was probably the adventures of Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven, but we had nearly 1000 replies and 400 books were nominated. Interestingly however, it seems that it is the book-series that made the biggest impression on you as early readers – maybe that’s because you can get more deeply immersed in a series of adventures than just one. Anyway, here you are, the top twenty books that opened the magical world of reading for you.

It was a close run thing, but 48 of you picked Carolyn Keene’s fearless and enterprising young detective Nancy Drew

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…and 45 went with CS Lewis’ timeless classic The Chronicles of Narnia.

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It was a great disappointment to me that third place (41 votes) went to Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series. Yah boo! The Secret Seven Rules!

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Forty votes went to Frances Hodgson Burnett’s magical The Secret Garden.

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Who would have guessed? 35 votes for the Harry Potter series! Good on you J. K. Rowling!

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Louise May Alcott got 31 of you hooked on reading with her classic novel Little Women

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…and 29 of you loved Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series.

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With 22 votes apiece, it was a dead heat between Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery and Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White.

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And in tenth place, with 19 votes, you chose A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.

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The next ten books, in the order of nomination are:

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland ~ Lewis Carroll
The Magic Faraway Tree Series ~ Enid Blyton
Jane Eyre ~ Charlotte Bronte
Black Beauty ~ Anna Sewell
The Hobbit ~ J.R.R Tolkein
Grimm/Andersen Fairy Tales
Heidi ~ Johanna Spyri
Wizard of Oz ~ Frank Baum
Secret Seven Series ~ Enid Blyton
The Boxcar Children ~ Gertrude Chandler Warner

Do these books bring back fond memories of your own own journey into reading? Let’s hope so!

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  • Lizzy says:

    I loved “bright April” because I saw a girl who looked like me, African American for the first time.
    I love “Nancy Drew” because she was smart and clever before women were celebrated for their intelligence. I loved “Anna Karina” because women were strong and loved. I love “little women” because all the girls were so brave and intelligent. Books about women inspired me to be my own person. I became a teacher after being the first woman in my family to graduate from college in 1965. I was a role model for my family and friends. Books influenced me and I am glad they did.

    • Julie Jarrett says:

      We were so fortunate weren’t we, to have those wonderful literary opportunities. By your date of graduation you must be around my age. While our tastes may vary Lizzy, our love of books and what they bring to our lives unites us. I am always so happy to converse with people who resonate with me.

  • Jacqueline Burke Nugent says:

    My book addiction started with ” The Baby Sitter’s Club”

  • Julie Jarrett says:

    Having been raised in Australia, our books were mainly from Britain, and being what was termed “horse mad” some of my beloved favourites even to today at 70 is the “Jill” series by Ruby Ferguson about Jill’s pony exploits along with Wish for a Pony and the wonderful Australian series of “Thowra King of the Brumbies” and “Tam the Untamed” and “Ajax the Warrior” also set in Australia. Such wonderful innocent times. The Famous Five also made my list. I can still read some of these even now and recapture the feelings of joy and wishful thinking. I am sad for those children who will never have this childhood pleasure and hours of living in a world other than their current reality.

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