When I Was Young: Favorite Childhood Books of Stonehenge Circle Writers

We recently invited the Stonehenge Circle Writers to share their favorite books when they were children.  Read on for reflections on beloved books of childhood.

Cheryl Mahoney: From the age of ten to twelve, the funniest book I had ever read was I Want to Go Home! by Gordon Korman.  I read it twelve times (I kept a count).  I’ve read it again since, and it’s still funny!

Karen Blakely: I was nearly eight when I read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. I loved it so much I decided then and there that I was going to be a writer some day. And I’ve never changed my mind. 

Ingrid Victoria: Sometime around age 8, my parents borrowed an audiobook version of The Dragonslayers by Bruce Coville from the library. I loved all the jokes and twists on classic fairy tale tropes, and kept reborrowing it so many times that my parents bought me my own copy for my birthday. I still read all goblins and giant spiders in the voices used in that audiobook.

Michael Panush: Is it cheating to say that a book you read at fifteen is a favorite childhood book? Teenagers are pretty much children, aren’t they? In any case, while my tender years were spent devouring stories of medieval rodent violence in Brian Jacques’ Redwall book, an ill-fated temple youth group trip to Israel gave me a chance to dig into Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum, which absolutely blew me away. Eco treats history like a crazy coloring book, filling in gaps with kooky conspiracies and open-ended mystery, while still featuring sympathetic characters and a plot that keeps you guessing until the last page. His other books, particularly The Name of the Rose, Baudalino, and The Prague Cemetery are also fantastic, but Foucault’s Pendulum will always have a special place in my heart. 

Kelly Haworth:  I have very fond memories of reading The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales to my sister all the time when I was around 8-10. We loved that silly book. I still have it, and read it to my 5 year old now, who LOVES it. 

I also need to discuss this as my favorite series instead of favorite books. The American Girls series were one of my early loves that not only made me obsessed with reading but also with writing, and thus the first novel I ever attempted was a self-insert historical fantasy. In my tweens, it was Animorphs. Each month when a new book came out I would devour it immediately, and I re-read the series religiously every few months as the series grew. In my teens, LOTR rekindled my love of writing, inspiring me to invent alien languages for the various science fictions I wrote at the time. Narrowing this stuff down to a single book is nigh impossible, but I would probably go with the Animorphs special release The Hork-Bajir Chronicles, because the world-building and story were incredible.

R.A. Gates: I wasn’t a big reader as a child. I did love Shel Silverstein’s book Where the Sidewalk Ends. His poems made me laugh. As a teenager, I read the Sweet Valley High books. It wasn’t until I was a mom and my then 11 year old told me that I should read the Twilight book. After we watched the movie, I was more inclined to read it. I ended up reading the entire series in a week. After that, I was clearing out Target’s young adult section of the book department. The series that I really enjoyed was the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. When I had finished book 4 and had to wait for the other two to be released, I found fanfiction. After reading many Vampire Academy stories, I decided to try to write my own fanfiction story. Every night I wrote a chapter and uploaded it to the website, fanfiction.net. I’m ruthless527 if you want to find my stories. Readers would leave feedback and compliments that would inspire me to keep going. I actually made a good friend through the process. After writing my third fanfic, I figured that I could create my own world and write my own stories.

So, I did. I took me a couple years, but I eventually wrote Pucker Up and then The Tenth Life of Mr. Whiskers. I am currently working on follow up stories in the same world. I’ve also had a couple short stories in anthologies and a couple group projects with my writing friends. I love the writing community and hope to be a part of it for years to come.


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