15 Nostalgic Children’s Books We Read in the 80s and 90s

We all grow up. It’s because we never found Neverland, but that’s OK. While we grow up and say goodbye to our childhood (of crayons and small clothes and gel pens), there are some things we don’t have to say goodbye to: children’s books.

We might age and grow up and get old, but these children’s books just get better in time.

(Note: I know most of you love Harry Potter so I’m sorry the boy who lived didn’t make the list. It was too obvious.)

1. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

This children’s book might be years old, but its message is eternal. E.B. White told a captivating story about the power of friendship, through different animals. You couldn’t help but love Charlotte’s kindness, Wilbur’s innocence, and even Templeton’s sass!

2. Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary

Ramona was loveable and annoying, but we all know how her imagination and shenanigans pulled us in. It was a creative story about sisterly love. It’s a children’s book that reminds us you might not love someone all the time, but that doesn’t mean you never do.

3. The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin

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It was a revolutionary children’s book series that talked about different girls, with different backgrounds and families, working together and strengthening their friendships. We all had a favourite whether it was Kristy, Claudia, Mary Ann, Stacey, Dawn, Mallory, Jessi, Abby, or Shannon.

And frankly, we all wanted into that club too.

4. Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish

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When you hire a housemaid who follows all her commands literally (“Don’t forget to put on Missy’s bib” equates to the bib around her own neck), it’s pages of fun. But while it might be a good laugh, Amelia Bedelia was great in helping one see literary terms and sayings.

5. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

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For those girls who didn’t wear dresses growing up, Harriet was a great book to read that helped adventurous/tomboyish girls relate. Who wasn’t sucked in by Harriet’s opinions of those around her and the world that she created? She was an observant kid. It was nice to feel like we knew more than our parents.

6. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Where the wild things are

Who didn’t love this children’s book? It was the cutest adventure of a little boy who conquered the monsters and got to play king. We were a generation of imagination and hope, so of course it was nice to find an escape where we could defeat our fears and come out strong.

7. Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene

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Nancy Drew is a super girl and we wanted to be her. Keene’s children’s books showcased that girls could have it all: beauty, brains, and the ability to be brave. And we didn’t just love her, but her adventures as well.  You know you were that girl spending the day on the couch trying to figure out who the perpetrator was (whether it was in the yellow hardcover version, or the white (newer) paperback ones).

8. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner

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Do you guys remember Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny Alden? Do you happen to remember a red boxcar on book covers? Like Nancy Drew, the Boxcar Children series put four children in a mystery after mystery and you couldn’t help but want to know more.

9. Goosebumps by R.L. Stine

 

This children’s book series was one that knew would scare us, but one we read nonetheless. Creepy covers didn’t seem to deter us, it just made us want to absorb more.  I bet you even watched the TV show.

10. Pony Pals by Jeanne Betancourt

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Every girl has probably wanted a pony in her life. And that’s basically what Pony Pals was all about. It was in this children’s book series that we followed the lives of three girls and their ponies and friendship (between all the girls and the animals too).

11. Bailey School Kids by Debby Dadey

Strange things are happening surrounding these kids. When you combine weird situations and overactive imaginations of elementary students, you get the stories of the Bailey School Kids. I’m sure we’ve all come up with ridiculous excuses for the strange things that happen in our lives, as we grow up. But hey, that’s what kids do.

12. Redwall Series by Brian Jacques

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You know you’ve heard of Martin the Warrior – and if you haven’t you’ll remember the name Redwall and its stories with mice, ferrets, foxes, badgers, and moles. While these were sometimes a tough read, Redwall was an amazing book series filled with action and adventure. (And even if you didn’t read the books, I’m sure you watched the TV show).

13. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

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This was probably the saddest children’s book series out there, but probably one of the most intriguing. Lemony Snicket knew how to break our hearts and give us hope then break them somewhere, over and over and over again. The Baudelaire children had a terrible life, but their adventures were grand, so there’s that.

14. Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar

Wayside is a school that got built on it’s side. This book is filled with strange stories of the class of 30 students, on the 30th floor of the building. It was an interesting children’s book that put a lot of twists and oddball events during these kids’ elementary lives. Who doesn’t love a wacky school world?

15. Anything by Roald Dahl

If anyone could be called the king of children’s books it is Roald Dahl. It’s self-explanatory but if you need examples: Matilda, the BFG, James and the Giant Peach. Even Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. And everything else in this man’s bibliography. He was the king of children’s books, I tell you, the king. Enough said.

Tell us…

What is your favourite children’s book?

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3 COMMENTS

  1. I can only remember a few books from when I was a kid…but the few I do remember that are not on this list:

    Voices after Midnight by Richard Peck. (His Blossom Culp books were excellent as well.)
    The Ghosts by Antonia Barber
    Wait till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn
    Anything by Paula Danziger
    Mrs. Frisby and the rats of Nimh by Robert C. O’Brien

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