Renaissance goes back to school!
By Chris Jarosh
It’s been a long time since we in the Content and Quiz Writing team were at school. (In fact, it’s an absolute age for some of us…) We decided to cast our minds back and take a look back at some of the books we loved as children – and dig up our old school photos! We’d love to hear what your favourite books were and see some of those old photos. Tell us on Twitter at @AccReader or post to our Facebook page here!
“More than anything growing up, I loved using my imagination. It was essential, too, when living in the Wisconsin countryside. When you have nothing but alfalfa fields and forest around, you need good stories to keep you company. It was the countryside that inspired much of my reading. Stories of survival and wilderness with good characters became my thing around the age of 10.
“And when it comes to survival stories, there is none better than Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet. When Brian’s plane crashes in the Canadian wilderness, he must survive using only his hatchet. He must face the hardships of nature, but Brian also must grow up and learn things about himself. My teacher read this book aloud to my class, and we were always begging for just one more chapter. Each turn of Brian’s story will leave students breathless.
“Little House in the Big Woods was equally as addictive for me. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s tales of growing up in Wisconsin’s Big Woods are full of both hardships and victories. Even though I haven’t read the book in nearly 20 years, I can still recount my favourite scene. And yes, it’s the one with the molasses snow candy.”
Lee, Content Assistant
“Like many children that grew up in the 1990s and 2000s, I was a big fan of the Harry Potter books and would read them in one sitting as soon as I could get my hands on them! One of the books from the series, however, stood out for me. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was my favourite of the series because, whilst the other books were mainly about the title character fighting evil wizards, this one took a different approach and explored the concept of time-travel.
“This fascinated me because it showed that the outcome of one little event can make a huge difference and if you go back to change it, that can have significant consequences. I highly recommend the series overall as one of the best in the fantasy genre.”
Kerry, Assistant Editor
“I loved Judith Kerr’s Mog series as a young child and remember carrying it back and forth to reception in my blue book bag. I always felt so bad that the Thomases blamed everything on poor Mog, but she often ended up saving the day!”
Peter, Editorial Assistant
“Twenty years after my parents first introduced me to Biggles, these boy’s own adventures still transport me into the skies above exotic locations and leave me feeling like another member of the flight crew.
The books follow James Bigglesworth, who joins the Royal Flying Corps (later Royal Air Force) as an underage 17-year-old in 1916 and enjoys a flying career that includes spy capers, gold heists and political revolutions stretching into the Cold War. Written by a former RAF officer, these books chart the development of military aviation and are filled with technical details and historical trivia, making them a great option for readers who tend to prefer non-fiction.
“Fun fact: I was able to identify planes at the RAF Museum through the descriptions and art in these books!”
Laura, Senior Editor
“It was actually before I started school that I began collecting Mr Men books. I think the appeal was the wonderful, striking illustrations – of course – and also the cheerful, humorous storylines. These books were one of a few series I had begun collecting, and it was around that time that I started telling people that when I grew up, I was going to be a librarian. And indeed, I did go on to work in libraries for a few years before trying my hand at writing and editing Accelerated Reader quizzes. In this capacity, I have enjoyed creating quizzes for the newer Mr Men stories – particularly the Doctor Who Mr Men books.
“So, almost as predicted, I have been working with books for a while now, and thoroughly enjoying it – though in a way a much younger me couldn’t have imagined!”
“Interests at the time: Music (mad for Elvis), swimming, my dog (a Scottie called Macduff), cycling (my main means of transport) and best of all losing myself in a good book. Little Women was a particular favourite, but my real passion was Nancy Drew. I collected 45 books in the series, my favourite being Number 22, The Clue in the Crumbling Wall. There was mystery and intrigue galore as Nancy explored the ruins of Heath Castle with the aid of her two best buddies for clues to the disappearance of a missing dancer. This series made me love mysteries, and this book in particular is probably why I still love visiting castles and old ruins today. I still have the collection and rarely does a year go by when I don’t return to an adventure of this daring girl detective. This was the series that made me think girls could do anything – and usually better than boys!”
Sally, Vice President, International Product
“Few words are needed to describe two of my most treasured childhood adventure stories, Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Randsome and The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. Simply wonderful!”
“The Wolves of Willoughby Chase is the story of two cousins: brave, bold Bonnie and kind, sensitive Sylvia. They are thrown together on a perilous adventure and despite their very different characters, they always take great care of each other. As a child I loved reading about their close relationship.
“I was a big fan of stories set in the past and I loved this book for its vivid descriptions. I could imagine myself shivering in Aunt Jane’s attic flat, playing with Bonnie’s beautifully elaborate toys (including a doll’s house which was big enough to get inside) and braving the terrors that faced the girls at the hands of Miss Slighcarp, the evil woman who was supposed to be their governess.
“My sisters and I used to endlessly re-enact scenes from the book as it is such a gripping story. It rattles along at a great pace and it is full of vivid, interesting characters – both those who want to help the girls and those who do not…
I have recently learned that the book is only one of a series by Joan Aiken, the Wolves Chronicles, and I can’t wait to read some more of the adventures!”
|3 September 2019 at 2:08 pm
|Accelerated Reader, Back to School, Books, Favourite Books, Harry Potter, Mog, Narnia, Renaissance Accelerated Reader, Roald Dahl, School, Throwback Thursday