I've seen a lot of people doing these in many blogs, both in English and in Spanish. So I decided to give it a shot so that I have an excuse to update my blog with some regularity. I will be basically uploading a top ten list of books that fall under a specific criteria or group (everybody loves top ten lists, admit it). This first entry deals with childhood favorites.
This meme was created by the people at The Broke and the Bookish. Click on the banner for a full description of the meme and its rules.
The titles of the books are listed in the language that I read them and, in parenthesis, you will find the original title, if we're talking about a translation. The pictures do not always correspond to the editions that I read, as they are hard to find online and I couldn't find all of them. I think we gave most of them away.
#10 Les bessones a St. Clare's (The St. Clare's series) and Torres de Malory (Malory Towers series) - Enid Blyton
Yeah. Of course I've read them. All of them. I read most of them in Catalan, except a couple which were in Spanish because they belonged to my mother back when she was in school. I still have those editions, they smell of old books and I love them for it. And I found a volume in German containing the first three books of the St. Clare's series. (Hanni und Nanni? Come on, Germany, not even the Spanish translators during the dictatorship changed the names...).
This was a compulsory reading for the summer vacation between first and second grade at elementary school (the teachers at my school were a bunch of sadists that made their own summer homework dossiers instead of making us buy the Vacaciones Santillana albums or something like that, and parents made half of that homework with and for us). In spite of the fact that, at age 7, I already hated being told to read something to do some sort of project or test about it, I liked the book. It's a really sweet story about a whale that becomes small to visit a fisherman friend of hers but then gets stuck under a bridge when she tries to go back to the ocean.
#8 Tras los muros - Mercedes Neuschäfer-Carlón
For some reason, I really, really liked this book. It was another compulsory reading, I think in third or fourth grade, about a boy who meets another boy at his new house and immediately becomes friends with him. The only problem being, of course, that this Adalberto kid is actually a ghost from the 19th century. It's a comedy, actually, don't imagine anything gross.
Funny fact: according to Wikipedia, the author is a Spanish woman who lives in Germany since she married a German back in the 1950's or so, and she taught Spanish in Saarland. What are the odds...
#7 Estimada iaia, la teva Susi (Liebe Oma, deine Susi) - Christine Nöstlinger
This is the first book I read about Susi, an Austrian girl who writes letters and diaries as she grows up from a little girl to a teenager. There is a whole series dedicated to her. Actually, I think it was the first time I noticed that cultural differences exist: it didn't make any sense to me that Susi would start school on September 1st (where I come from it's always around September 15th), that her friend Ali was Turkish, that Susi's other grandmother was from Tirol... It was all very exotic to the 8/9 year-old me, who'd only been abroad once at that point in my life (hard to believe in 2013, eh?).
#6 Animorphs (series) - K.A. Applegate
My first taste of science-fiction ever. It's funny that I bought the fourth book of the series in Catalan at the Sant Jordi fair the year that we left for Mexico, way before the TV series and way before it had time to become popular on this side of the Atlantic ocean. I still remember the shopkeeper trying to convince me to get the first one, but I wanted the fourth one because there was a dolphin on the cover. One does not simply try to discuss logical desicion-making with a 9 year-old.
Already in Mexico, I started the collection in English within a certain chronological order (and failing miserably) and sometimes got them from the school library. And because of the TV series, I had my first crush on a TV star. Make a wild guess. (It was Shawn Ashmore, who played Jake. What was with me and Canadians at that point in my life?).
#5 The Baby-sitters Club (series) - Ann M. Martin
#5 The Baby-sitters Club (series) - Ann M. Martin
Duh. One does not simply go to an American school in the late 1990's and not read the BSC books if one is a girl. Because the collection goes up to 120 volumes or something like that (the main collection, I mean; after that there were other parallel series) there was no possible way for me to own all of them, so I borrowed a great deal of them from the school library. Even now I wouldn't be able to decide which one was my favorite, but I really liked the BSC Mysteries collection.
The storyline is simple: a bunch of girls from Stoneybrook, a town in Connecticut, create the Baby-sitters Club and baby-sit for local kids while they deal with the typical problems of a 13 year-old: boys, family issues, health issues, boys, hormones, BFFs, boys... did I mention boys?
#4 Babèlium - Josep Frederic Pérez
I think this is a not very known children's book but I enjoyed it a lot when I read it. One day, Aleix meets a girl who paints pictures of places that only he can see in dreams and she reveals that he is the son of a fairy tale character and that's the reason why he must dye his green hair black. Aleix finds himself transported to the fairy tale land he has always dreamed of and must save it from evil.
#3 Matilda - Roald Dahl
I got this book as present from my dad when the movie was released, back in 1996, and he couldn't take me to the cinema to watch it. And thank whoever is up there that I read the book first, because, ladies and gentlemen, I give you my very first disappointment with a book adaptation into film. This is obviously only due to the fact that I really, really liked the novel and admired Matilda and wanted her powers for myself.
#2 Els dimarts del senyor F - Mercè Canela
I got this as one of those presents that you get from adults because they feel like they have to give you something, not because they really mean it. And its pages trapped me and took me for the first time in my life to WWII. A kid-friendly version, of course, but still...
#1 Jim Botón y Lucas el maquinista (Jim Knopf und Lukas der Lokomotivführer) - Michael Ende
Road trip time! Jim and Lucas go on an adventure, transforming Emma, the train engine, into a vehicle that can run on all sorts of surfaces (including water!) and they go to China, through a desert, to a dragon's cave, and along the way they meet pirates, the Emperor of China himself, a giant that looks smaller as you get closer to him... I loved this book, I loved the adventure and the fantasy of Jim and Lucas's trip. Please, take me with you on your next adventure!