YA fiction


First of all I must thank Hema for awarding me The Sunshine award, now featured in my sidebar. I’m passing it on to those blogs that get me thinking and keep me smiling, or

Zen and the art of tightrope walking because Viv’s post always make me think and

Lua and Stephen because they keep me smiling (I know Lua has already been awarded by Hema, but I think it’s another award… oh, actually Madison gave you this one as well… so double award, Lua! As for Stephen… well, the first! :-D).

Now to the topic at hand. No, I don’t write YA and don’t intend to. Unfortunately I’ve forgotten how it felt to be a young adult (although I could try to “recycle” some old stories). But something triggered my memories, so I’m going to share them with you.

I grew up between France and Switzerland and the Swiss school (elementary classes) gave books as prizes (the French school gave medals you could keep for the week, then pass them on the next…), that’s how I got a couple of my favorites (I did only 3 years out of 5 at Swiss schools, and moved to the French Lycée for the last 2).

The first was “Un hiver dans la vallée de Moumine”, and the memory was triggered by the fact that the Moomin are coming out in their comic strip version in Italian. I knew the novels (suggested from 8-year-old), now I plan on discovering also the strips. But in the meantime (I plan to go to the comic-book shop where I have a discount, but it’s on the other side of town…) I re-read the old book won when I was about that age (between 8 and 10, don’t remember the exact year when I got it). I enjoyed the ride very much, but still can’t remember the original feeling, sigh. I’m not sure I liked it much, though, as I have only one book in the series. But now I think Mrs Jansson is very good both as a writer and as an artist (with her own, very personal style). History says the Moomins were discovered and made famous by Japanese, but well… I knew them already when a friend of mine mentioned them because she had seen the Japanese version! 😉

Now, my absolute fave was “Chevalier de l’impossible”, which, thanks to Google, I learned is called “How to become king” in English. I wasn’t seventeen, but I always loved that tale, and read it many times, even when I was much older.  I’d say it’s still my fave YA, and wish I could fine another story like this one (maybe there are, but I have enough books on my wish-list to actually look for them). But it’s highly recommended to anyone (although I liked the French title better – “Knight of the impossible”, isn’t this great? The original “Koning van Katoren” means (I think) “The king of Katoren”, so I guess the English title is closer…). Maybe I should read more books of Jan Terlouw! 🙂

Both authors are Scandinavian (one Finnish, the other Danish) – so the Swiss didn’t promote only their literature (but I have the Heidi books, yes, just don’t remember them, haha!). Still have to re-read Pippi Longstockings with original illustrations… and the Heidi books… geez, can I have more hours in the day???

Do you have any book(s) from your childhood/teen you still remember/re-read with the same pleasure?

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9 Comments

  1. Lua

     /  25/05/2010

    Thank you so much Barb, you made my day! I say- you can never have too many “Sunshine Awards” 🙂
    It’s not really a YA Book but my favorite childhood book was the Little Prince. It’s still on my nightstand and I still read it to remind myself that ‘it’s okay to be who you are’ …

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    • I had the audio-version of The Little Prince – the sentence that stuck most (because of the language mistake, which probably gets lost in translation) is still today “S’il vous plait, dessine-moi un mouton.” (Please draw me a sheep)
      I know I didn’t understand it much, but loved the drawings. Will have to re-read it again some day (or listen to the tape – or was it vynil? Gee, I’m old! That was the 70s! :-D)…

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  2. Wow, thanks, I’m touched! I’m glad my blog has been an enjoyable read.

    As for childhood books that I return to periodically I, being an absolute lover of fantasy, am always keen to suggest “The Chronicles of Prydain” by Lloyd Alexander (starting with The Book of Three) and, of course, The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien.

    I don’t currently own a copy of The Hobbit (more’s the pity), but I do have the entire Chronicles of Prydain. Either one, though, I never really get tired of.

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  3. Great subject, Barb! Yes, I have books that I remember from childhood. I loved any and all books by the English (as in from England) author, Enid Blyton. We don’t find them in book stores in the U.S, so I bought them in India, and I have quite a collection now. And one of my most favorite books (makes me nostalgic to even think about it) was by the Indian author Shashi Deshpande. It’s name is: Hidden Treasure. I searched for it high and low and found it recently in one Indian online store and bought it for my daughter. I loved reading them again with her, and now, she loves that book and those by Enid Blyton as much as I did as a kid :-).

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    • What’s the Indian one about? Some sort of Treasure Island adventure or what? Not that I know Enid Blyton either… will have to check those books, I guess! 🙂
      Thanks for the suggestion! 😀

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      • Sorry, Barb, I didn’t see your question until now. “Hidden Treasure”, as the name suggests, is about a group of kids (cousins) who come across an ancient family treasure buried in their crumbling family house, and then they have to fight some goons in the village who’re after it, too. The way Deshpande weaves the setting of the village into the story is phenomenal. If you’re interested in finding out more about Enid Blyton, my blog has a two-installment post about her writing style and her books :).

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