There's something about the summer that makes me begin to think way back, to a time when hot weather meant long days filled with nothing but swimming in various bodies of water and tearing through chapter books. There are childhood books I miss, like old friends from middle school who I can't find on Facebook. And I'm not the only one. A recent Reddit books thread just exploded into a celebration of literary nostalgia after user 15sunsets asked a simple, albeit deeply moving question.
"Do you ever get cravings to read books from your childhood even though you’re older now?" they asked. "I don’t know why I’d rather read Anne of Green Gables or Junie B. Jones or Harry Potter or a Judy Blume novel sometimes, but I literally get cravings to read them—even if I read them over 10 times when I was a child. It feels so good to reminisce about all the books I read when I was younger; I really feel like they played a part in shaping me into who I am today."
The thread erupted in literary nostalgia, garnering over 2,100 replies in less than 24 hours and nearly 8,400 "points," 92 percent of whom were positive. Let me repeat that: on a public forum, in today's world of caustic interwebs, an open question was literally given an A for effort (well, A-, technically, but shhhh). There were no discernible rifts or arguments; no one used slurs or shouted insults. And it wasn't as though every commenter had the same experience or opinion; far from it, in fact. There were Tamora Pierce stans, Potterheads, Anne Shirley buffs and Animorphs obsessives. But there is something universal about a favorite book from childhood, no matter the title. They get under our skin, shape us into better people.
It's worth it to just read through the thread's responses. Interactions online are notoriously, uh, tough to manage, a social minefield, but this instance was heartwarming as heck. Even when people went off topic, some posting quotes about the power of reading, others sharing personal memories of just the act of reading ("Slightly OT but I sometimes find myself reading the children's books I used to read to my kids at their bedtime. Brings back memories of clean damp hair, little pyjamas and giggles. They've all left home now," wrote marsupialman), people reacted with kindness and respect. So check out this list of crave-able, lovable children's books. What's on your own list?