childhood memories

10 books that will bring back your childhood memories

We revisit some of the most popular and timeless childhood classics - from short stories to mystery thrillers - that we loved reading as kids.
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A beloved book from childhood can rekindle some of the fondest memories of the days past. There is a special feeling that defines the relationship we share with the books from our childhood—a feeling of nostalgia mixed with a strong desire to hold on to our precious childhood memories. Just a glance at the cover of a book is enough to send you back in time and stir strong feelings within you.

While everyone’s sense of longing for their childhood is different, there’s something extremely comforting about reaching for a book long forgotten, and in between the pages, getting lost in wonderful memories. We revisit some of the most popular and timeless childhood classics—from short stories to mystery thrillers—that we loved reading as kids.

Let’s take a little trip down memory lane, shall we?

Malgudi Days, by RK Narayan

The magic woven in the stories of Malgudi Days had captured our imaginations long before Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings did. A collection of short stories written by acclaimed Indian author RK Narayan, the book chronicles the life of a little boy named Swami from a fictitious village in Karnataka. The timeless characters in the book are brought to life by Narayan’s engaging, humorous and humane narration based on his keen observation of human life. We meet a fake astrologer, a gardener, a gateman, a postman, a doctor, and a small businessman among others with their own stories and idiosyncrasies. Narayan writes with a dash of irony and the stories are peppered with amazing plot twists, making them relatable and heartbreaking at the same time. It is this familiarity and love despite imperfections that renders these stories their lasting value, making them an unforgettable part of our childhood memories.

The Harry Potter series, by JK Rowling

Whether you’re a Potterhead or not, everyone is familiar with JK Rowling’s Harry Potter book series. One of the greatest adventure series in children’s literature, the story revolves around a young wizard named Harry, and his fight against a dark force, Lord Voldemort. On his tenth birthday, Harry learns that he is a wizard, and joins the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. There he meets his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger and their adventures begin thereon. This series will take you back to the emotional and magical journey of Harry, as he learns to grapple with the challenges of growing up as a wizard. The wonderful stories of heroism, hardships and friendships entwined with magic spawn a universe that continues to captivate both children and adults alike.

The Nancy Drew series, by Carolyn Keene

The Nancy Drew series was perhaps one of the first prized book collections for many of us. The series is based on the iconic young detective Nancy and her thrilling adventures while going about solving mysteries. With her indomitable spirit and intelligence, Nancy’s character remains the true epitome of girl power to date. As you read her stories, you are not only left amazed and inspired but also made aware of your own capabilities. Nancy Drew gave us the thrill of using our minds to solve mysteries as young children, something that is forever etched in our childhood memories. The same holds true even today, based on the idea of a young woman who believes in righting the wrongs and finding the truth at all costs.

The Famous Five series, by Enid Blyton

The Famous Five series comprises over 20 novels based on the adventures of a group of four young children and their dog Timmy. Julian Kirrin and his brother Dick, sister Anne, cousin George (Georgina) and her dog Timmy embark on unforgettable adventures during their summer vacations. Blyton’s world, woven around these characters, was an enchanting escape from our humdrum childhood lives. Julian and his entourage took us on virtual adventures without grown-up supervision—something we could never imagine doing. They went camping and had picnics all by themselves, and there was an adventure waiting at every turn. The Famous Five exposed us to a world very different from our own and kept us glued to the fast-paced, adventure-filled stories. Our childhood memories are truly incomplete without them.

Charlotte’s Web, by EB White

One of the greatest classics of children’s literature, this gentle story with its wisdom on friendship and love continues to charm readers of all ages. That’s because its themes of love, friendship and kindness are universal and timeless. This heartwarming story of a pig named Wilbur and a wise spider named Charlotte remains a memorable read. The book is a reminder that while the world could be harsh at times, it could also be a beautiful and warm place. The story is a lovely fantasy grounded in reality, and perhaps that’s why it remains so close to our hearts and our childhood memories. Every time you read Charlotte’s Web, you can’t help but shed a tear for Charlotte, rejoice in the friendship and love, and wonder about the mystery of life.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl, with his magical worlds, fascinating creatures, playful humour and sharp wit has been capturing our imaginations ever since our childhood. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tells the story of a homeless young boy who wins a golden ticket to tour the magical chocolate factory of Willy Wonka. Our childhood memories are incomplete without the Oompa-Loompas and the enticing chocolate factory. This book made us love even the most unlovable of characters, and made us believe that a wild imagination is always a wonderful thing. Most importantly, Charlie Bucket, our hero, taught us to be brave, honest and kind. This true treasure points to lessons that ring true even today, ranging from the ill-effects of binge-watching television to overeating to selfishness, greed and ostentatious displays of wealth.

Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women is an endearing book from our childhood about the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy—and their journey from childhood to adulthood. It is a timeless tale of love, sisterhood and growing up. It’s a novel that’s 150 years old, and we still continue to love the March sisters. Even though they might have lived in an entirely different time period than us, we can still relate to the common human virtues apparent in the lives of these beloved characters. Alcott shows through her book that women can be just as successful as men and that they do not need to find love in order to do so. Pick this book if you need some inspiration to not give up on your dreams and persevere no matter what the circumstances.

The Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling

While reading this childhood favourite back in the day, you could not be blamed for daydreaming of running alongside Mowgli through the jungle accompanied by the wolf cubs and Bagheera. Mowgli, Baloo, Akela, Bagheera, Kaa and Sher Khan had captured the imagination and fantasies of the 90s generation’s kids. The book captures the heartwarming story of the friendship between an abandoned “man-cub” saved from the jaws of an evil tiger and adopted by a pack of wolves. As Mowgli grows, our excitement too grows with him and his fascinating escapades in the jungle. Kipling creates an intense world that captures your attention with his vivid descriptions of the jungle and the creatures that inhabit it. You could sense the jungle’s overpowering force with every story told in the book. Those very moments became the magical childhood memories that make The Jungle Book a true classic for a child as well as an adult.

Winnie The Pooh, by AA Milne

This wonderful treasure deserves a reread if you haven’t picked it up since your childhood. Winnie The Pooh and his friends Piglet, Owl, Tigger and Eeyore remain the unforgettable creations of AA Milne for close to a century. The stories woven around the adventures of Pooh and his friends are only enhanced by the adorable drawings that help build the story in your imagination. Adventure is always around the corner when Christopher Robin and Pooh Bear are together, but the story wouldn’t be the same without the lovely cast of characters who shared their escapades in the Hundred Acre Woods. The stories still have the power to sweep us in a wave of nostalgia and take us back to a time of innocence when we climbed trees, played in streams, and spent our days in the company of friends.

Matilda, by Roald Dahl

As children, we adored Matilda, the bookworm heroine of Roald Dahl’s novel by the same name. The story revolves around a young girl named Matilda and her parents, who are not very nice, and they do not value Matilda’s love for books or the fact that she is very smart. Matilda ends up living with her teacher, Miss Honey who absolutely loves her and provides a loving home for her. Of course, we were jealous of the telepathic powers Matilda used to teach a lesson to mean teachers and annoying classmates. The book taught us how one can never be lonely if one has enough books to read. This inspiring story is bound to whisk you away into the fresh, green meadows of your childhood memories. Matilda’s story demonstrates the need to stand up for what you believe is right and the ability to change tough circumstances in your favour.

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