I saw this meme at Golden Books Girl and the original author is The Broke and and the Bookish. It challenges one to name 10 favourite books from one’s childhood (I listed 12 because why not). Although my childhood was spent in Russia, I read a lot of books from foreign-language authors (translated to Russian, of course). I did not read Harry Potter as a child since when I finally got my hands on a translated-to-Russian edition of the first book (probably in the very early 2000s) I was already in the “middle adolescence” age group. My childhood and YA books were generally fairy-tales and adapted-to-a-young-reader stories of Charles Dickens (Oliver Twist), Jack London (The Sea-Wolf), Robert Louis Stevenson (The Black Arrow), Jules Verne (Journey to the Centre of the Earth) and Mayne Reid (Osceola the Seminole). I also read a lot of Agatha Christie when I was in middle school. So, in no particular order:
I. The Wind in the Willows  by Kenneth Graham
I had a very colourfully-illustrated version of this book, and though I don’t remember much of the plot now, I do recall its vivid characters: Mole, Rat, Mr. Toad & Mr. Badger, as well as a sense of adventure. The book has some moral messages (such as on the importance of friendship), and fosters a sense of wonder at nature (the setting is a riverbank).
II. Fairy Tales  by Alexander Pushkin
Alexander Pushkin (1799 – 1837) is Russia’s most famous poet and most beloved author. From all the books of my childhood I think it was Pushkin’s fairy-tales that had the biggest impact on me because this was my very first “proper” book (as opposed to nursery rhymes’ books), and I greatly enjoyed the introduction to all the mythical and the fantastical it had to offer – and in verse too! The Tale of The Dead Princess & Seven Bogatyrs (similar to Snow White) was my favourite, and others are The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish; and The Tale of Tsar Saltan. Thanks to this book, I later also loved Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy-tales, the fairy-tales from Brothers Grimm and tales from the Arabian Nights.
III. A Magician Walked the Streets (“Шёл по городу волшебник”)  by Yuriy Tomin
This was something akin to Harry Potter and magic in my childhood. In this story, a boy steals a box of matches from another boy who has hundreds of them and finds out that each time he breaks one match, his wish comes true. Filled with humour, this book teaches that with every power bestowed also comes responsibility, and it may be a good thing that not all our wishes are coming true on a daily basis. The book cemented my love for the magical and the fantastical.
IV. Robinson Crusoe  by Daniel Defoe
This was my late grandmother’s favourite book and, naturally, I have very fond memories connected with it. It is considered the first English novel, and I think it is now criminally under-read. I recall I was impressed by how well it explored the theme of survival on an uninhabited island, including the description of the fauna and the skills required.
V. The Little Prince  by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.” This surreal tale about one stranded aviator who encounters a prince living on another planet is both fantastical and emotional with important, simple “truths” inside. The story teaches to explore any book with a open heart and mind since even the smallest and simplest of stories may have the ability to affect someone deeply, to change one’s views or even turn one’s life around. It teaches kindness and consideration to others, making points about the human nature, loss and loneliness. The way it fuses simplicity with significance is a work of art.
VI. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea  by Jules Verne
This classic French book instilled in me a sense of wonder about the outside world, its secrets and the unknown. Jules Verne’s books take you around the world (Around the World in Eighty Days), to the Earth’s core (Journey to the Centre of the Earth); or plunges you to the depths of oceans (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea), while the author imagines possible future scientific advances (such as how to land on the Moon in From the Earth to the Moon), emphasising the humanity’s drive to explore and confront the unknown.
VII. Treasure Island  by Robert Louis Stevenson
This is probably the most influential pirate story, and, at a young age, it opened to me the world of sea adventure and mystery. We follow one young protagonist here, and the story is about a quest to find hidden treasure.
VIII. Timur and His Squad (“Тимур и его команда”)  by Arkady Gaidar
This is a nostalgic young adult book about a team of children led by boy Timur who sneak around doing good deeds secretly, such as protecting minors, helping elders and supporting however they can families of those who serve in the Red Army. This Soviet classic was probably meant to promote feelings of solidarity, bravery and the unwavering spirit in the face of growing fears, hardship and trauma connected to the WWII.
IX. The Blue Arrow (“La freccia azzurra”)  by Gianni Rodari
This book by an Italian author made my New Year’s Eves so much more magical. In this tale, a boy passes his days near to the New Year looking at all the shiny toys in a shop window, toys that he cannot afford. He is particularly transfixed by one perfect toy – an electric blue train (The Blue Arrow). Little does he know that the toys inside the shop come up with a plan to join the boy – Francesco, making their escape from the shop. The book has a heart-warming message towards the end. Rodari is also a creator of the stories about Cipollino (The Little Onion), another popular children’s book about mass oppression.
X. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer  by Mark Twain
This was one of my favourite books growing up. We follow here a mischievous boy Tom who lives with his aunt. His street quests and romance with a girl Becky are very memorable. Author Mayne Reid (Osceola the Seminole, The Quadroon) and much later also Donna Tartt (The Little Friend) further made me realise how I love literature set in the Mississippi region.
XI. Pippi Longstocking (“Pippi Långstrump“)  by Astrid Lindgren
This lovely Swedish children’s novel tells of Pippi Longstocking, an orphaned girl with a wide range of eccentricities and superhuman abilities, who befriends ordinary children Tommy and Annika. The book is filled with fun and humour, and its messages are designed to boost children’s confidence as they learn to accept and even cherish differences found in others. I also remember Lindgren’s Karlsson-on-the-Roof .
XII. Goosebumps [1992 – 1997] by R.L. Stine
This American series was my literary introduction to horror (aside from scary fairy-tales), and I remember being thrilled by these books as a child. They were translated from English to Russian, and my favourite books from the series were Be Careful What You Wish For..., The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight , A Night in Terror Tower  and The Headless Ghost .
Previously on my blog I also talked about two other books which were my favourite as a child: Scarlet Sails (“Алые паруса“)  by Alexander Grin, which is a story of love and hope, focusing on Assol, a girl in a small fishing-village, who believes in a prophecy; and Valentina Oseeva’s Dinka (“Динка”) , a classic children’s book about the joys of childhood that portrays a touching friendship between tomboy girl Dinka, aged eight, and an orphaned cabin-boy Lenka, in revolutionary Russia.
What books did you love as a child? How do you think your early reading experience contributed to shaping you as an adult reader today?