So I realised something. I’ve written three posts at this point, talking about the books that completely changed the way I looked at the world. (1, 2, 3). However, I’ve not yet dedicated an entire post just to children’s books that changed my perspective. There’s been one or two of these in each of the previous posts, but, you know… There’s definitely more. Such as these five perspective changing children’s books!
1. Saartje Tadema, Annie M.G. Schmidt
1712. Saartje Tadema is seven years old when her mother dies. Her father, master wood worker at the Amsterdam shipyard of the East Indian Company, had died earlier in an accident. Along with her brother, she arrives at the State Orphanage in the Kalverstraat. Saartje is wise for her age, intelligent and curious; At school, she is hardly offered the opportunity to study anything apart from writing and reading, but there’s no intereseting books. Time and time again, Saartje is told orphans should be grateful and obedient, both of which aren’t necessarily Saartje’s strongest suits. She is seen as a proud, high handed child. Throughout the years, she is longingly looking forward to the moment she can leave the orphange. When she can leave to purchase something, she grabs the opportunity. She gets a job as a servant in the “Herberg op het IJ”, the tavern where many of the sailors come and where a lot is going on at all times. But still, she’s not quite a free, independent woman.”
Now, I promise you – this book isn’t just in here because the main charactor has almost the same name as I do. This is actually the first “historical” book I can remember reading. Ever. The bad news for you reading this, is that it’s only available in Dutch. So, you know… Just take my word for the fact that it’s amazing? 🙂 (Find it on Goodreads or Amazon*)
2. Heidi, Johanna Spyri
Orphaned Heidi lives with her gruff but caring grandfather on the side of Swiss mountain, where she befriends young Peter the goat-herd. She leads an idyllic life, until she is forced to leave the mountain she has always known to go and live with a sickly girl in the city. Will Heidi ever see her grandfather again? A classic tale of a young girl’s coming-of-age, of friendship, and familial love.
This is one of those books that truly everybody should read, I feel. Not only is it an absolute classic, it’s just an amazing story. If you need a book that’s going to make you remember those friendships you had as a child and how unconditional they were? This is basically the book for you! (Find it on Goodreads or Amazon*)
3. The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis
Journeys to the end of the world, fantastic creatures, and epic battles between good and evil—what more could any reader ask for in one book? The book that has it all is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, written in 1949 by Clive Staples Lewis. But Lewis did not stop there. Six more books followed, and together they became known as The Chronicles of Narnia.
For the past fifty years, The Chronicles of Narnia have transcended the fantasy genre to become part of the canon of classic literature. Each of the seven books is a masterpiece, drawing the reader into a land where magic meets reality, and the result is a fictional world whose scope has fascinated generations.
This edition presents all seven books—unabridged—in one impressive volume. The books are presented here in chronlogical order, each chapter graced with an illustration by the original artist, Pauline Baynes. Deceptively simple and direct, The Chronicles of Narnia continue to captivate fans with adventures, characters, and truths that speak to readers of all ages, even fifty years after they were first published.
Again, I know I’ve mentioned this book before. A bunch of times, even. But, you know, that’s for a reason. My love for fantasy, for books that use intertextuality, that retell stories in a different but original way? All of those can basically, at least to some extent, be traced back to this series. (Goodreads , Amazon*)
4. Koning van Katoren, Jan Terlouw
The country of Katoren’s king has passed without leaving an heir. Seventeen years later, 6 sour ministers have been reigning the country while claiming to be looking for a new king. However, so far nothing’s happened. Then 17 year old Stach arrives, asking the ministers what one should do in order to become king. The ministers aspire to give 7 assignements that are neaimpossible, which many others have come back from unsuccesfully. Stach’s not scared, however. Using his intelligence and common sense, he manages to execute all of the assignments, making Katoren into a livable country again, in the process.
Today, everybody has some sort of opinion on equality and equal opportunites and the entire concept of fairness and basically – for me that started pre-Twitter, from this book. The assignments Stach has to execute can be related back to the principal sins in Christianity and the way that is executed? Absolutely stunning. This is another book that was published in Dutch but, luckily for you? It’s been translated into English and you can even get some additions, still! (Find it on Goodreads (English version, English version) or on Amazon (Dutch version*, Dutch version*)
5. The Crown of Dalemark, Diana Wynne Jones
For centuries, Dalemark has been a land divided by the warning earldoms of the North and South. Now, with the help of the Undying, the mysterious gods of Dalemark, four extraordinary young people — from the past, present, and future — must join forced to reunify their beloved land.
This is technically the fourth book in a series, but luckily all of these books can be reas as a standalone. This one actually brings together elements from all previous books, and it’s absolutely amazing in it’s world building and character development. Cue me loving those kind of books and still looking for more books like this one! (You can find it on Goodreads or Amazon*)
Now, here’s the real question: what books did you read as a child that definitely influeced or changed your perspective? Be sure to let me know below!