Mangan opens the article with the following paragraph:
- "I love all my books. I mean really love them. I have my favourites in my favourite bookcase and sometimes, when no one is looking, I hug it. In common, I suspect, with the vast majority of readers, my firmest biblio-attachments are the ones I made as a child."
Then Mangan lists the books that "meant the most to me, that have taught me vital lessons about life, love, truth and camping - books no child should be without," including What Katy Did and Charlotte's Web.
Michelle Pauli opens a discussion on the CultureVulture blog on "which children's books taught you the biggest life lessons?"
If I were to make my own list, I think I would include:
- Enid Blyton's books for pure escapism
- The Little House books, for showing me that anything can be interesting and an adventure, because, let's be honest, pioneer life held no attraction for me before reading Little House in the Big Woods. Also, I really related to Laura in many ways
- The Phantom Tollbooth and A Wrinkle in Time: I loved the escape from the physical world and the love for science and mathematics present in both books.
- Narnia taught me that books can be manipulative and that I don't have to agree to said manipulation if I don't want to :)
- Swallows and Amazons for sailing, adventure, and food
- Anything by Roald Dahl just because I loved his sick sense of humor, even as a child
ETA: Based on comment discussions, I just want to add that my impressions of these books having "taught me something" come from a distance. When I was a child, I just happened to enjoy, with the exception of Narnia, these books without knowing why.