For ‘Book Week’ this year, running from August 18-24, the Children’s Book Council of Australia came up with the theme of ‘Find Your Treasure’. It made me think of two things:
- I hope this means Captain Feathersword from The Wiggles is moonlighting as a CBCA board member.
- If I had a treasure chest full of book gold from my childhood, what would it include?
The first books that came to mind were Animalia (1987 CBCA Honour Book for Picture Book of the Year) and The Eleventh Hour (joint winner in 1989 for CBCA Picture Book of the Year) by Graeme Base. The puzzles and hidden illustrations were so amazing, and since there was no internet back in the day (I am 100 years old, hello), it helped that there was an answer booklet included if you couldn’t Sherlock your way through.
Kudos to that outer space phase a lot of us went through as kids (glow in the dark stars on the ceiling and an irrational sadness later in life for Pluto losing its planet status, right?) for my next favourite childhood book:
My Place in Space (1989 CBCA Honour Book for Picture Book of the Year) by Robin & Sally Hirst. It’s about two kids who not only know their home address, but can rattle off what country, planet and solar system they belong to as well. It was like having a planetarium in a book, and having been on many a school trip to Scienceworks, I was obsessed.
It’s very hard to choose a favourite Robin Klein book (Thing! Penny Pollard’s Diary! Halfway Across the Galaxy and Turn Left!), but I have a soft spot in my heart for Junk Castle (1984 CBCA Book of the Year finalist). A group of kids build a fort on a vacant lot of land but run into strife when local residents want to tear it down. I remember we got to build our own junk castle in our classroom made out of cardboard boxes, recycled plastic bottles & the absolute giddy energy of about twenty-five grade three kids.
Back in the late 80s/early 90s we either had the Atari console to play video games on or the Sega Master System II, which would explain why I loved Gillian Rubinstein‘s books Space Demons (1987 CBCA Honour Book for Book of the Year: Older Readers) & Sky Maze (1990 CBCA Book of the Year: Older Readers shortlist) about kids being transported into a video game world. I mean, I was terrible at video games, and if I were in the books I would have just run around collecting gems before perishing in an underwater level, so living vicariously through the book characters allowed me some cool points.
There are so many others I could include, but a special shout-out to these gems: every single Baby-Sitters Club book by Ann M. Martin, Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, John Marsden’s Tomorrow series, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss, Where’s Wally and last but not least The Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body. So gross yet so interesting. Thanks, Ms. Frizzle!
What favourite books from your childhood would you keep in a treasure chest? Let me know!