I am very happy and excited to be a part of the Iowa City Public Library’s Children’s Department as the new Coordinator! I am moving here from Burlington, Iowa, where I worked at the Burlington Public Library for 13 years. I am bringing with me, my two young kids, and my love of reading.
My love of reading began when I was very young. You could always find me with my nose in a book devouring anything by my favorite author of the month. Today, as I was looking over the j-fiction collection in the children’s room of the library, I found several books that I loved growing up, which has inspired my 80’s & 90’s retro booklist.
Retro Book List – Some titles, some authors:
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. These books introduced me to my love of a good mystery book and reading books in a series. I am happy that so many kids still enjoy this series, including my own kids, and as of today they have solved over 140 mysteries. The four Alden children, in my opinion, lived the dream in the ultimate club house, an abandoned boxcar. They had everything figured out and got to solve mysteries at the same time.
Doll House Murders by Betty Ren Wright. I probably read and reread this book a thousand times. It also started me on a path of reading books about Dollhouses (Midnight in the Dollhouse and When the Dolls Woke by Marjorie Filley Stover). Amy discovers an eerily-haunted dollhouse in the attic-an exact replica of the family home. Whenever she sees it, the dolls, representing her relatives, have moved.
Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright. A summer filled with mystery and a ghost town! This was right up my alley as a young girl. Portia and Julian find a abandoned resort just across the lake and are determined to find out the secrets
The Not-Just-Anybody Family by Betsy Byars. I have to thank my 4th grade teacher for sharing this book with me. The way she read it to our class had us falling out of our desks laughing. The Blossom family has their share of problems which all seem to fall to Maggie and Vern to figure out.
The BFG by Roald Dahl. This is officially my favorite book by Mr. Dahl, probably because after listening to it in the 6th grade we got to watch the movie, but still a hilarious book nonetheless. Sophie has a great adventure with her BFG (Big Friendly Giant) to save England. I loved all the made up words and silliness that is found throughout the book.
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. I think I may have loved the movies more than the books but because of the details of the setting, PEI (Prince Edward Island) is on my bucket-list to visit. I loved the friendships that Anne made and the lasting impressions she had on everyone she met.
Mary Downing Hahn. She published her first book the year that I was born and she has been creeping young readers out ever since. I loved her ghost stories, Wait Til Helen Comes, and her suspenseful stories, Dead Man in Indian Park.
Katherine Patterson. She was the first author to make me cry while reading a book. I have read and still own every single book by her. It would be a dream come true to meet her! Top three books by her that everyone should read: Bridge to Terabithia, The Great Gilly Hopkins and Lyddie.
And I will end my list with books by Christopher Pike because this is the last author I remember reading before the call of a social life and mandatory high school reading (Beowulf, Ivanhoe, The Odyssey) took up all my time. Like most books on this list Christopher Pike’s books were sure to include twists, turns, thrills and chills.
Trust me, I could add about 100 more to this list and I have read plenty of books since the 1990’s. I would love to suggest something with a newer copyright; just look for me in the stacks of the Children’s Room!