I've been feeling nostalgic for the past couple of weeks, reminiscing about my favourite decade. Granted, I was very young during the 90s [I was younger than ten for the majority of it], but looking back it seemed so much more colourful and fun than the decade we're currently in. There was a lot of creativity around, and a lot of interesting things happening. Most of my favourite bands, fashion and even food [Sunny Delight, anyone?] came about during this decade and of course, a lot of my favourite books did too. Since I have a lot of friends who were children during the 90s, I thought I'd compile a list of the children's books that they would have almost certainly read whilst they were at primary school, so that we can all remember the glory days together:
1. The Goosebumps Series
I remember these being banned in some libraries because adults thought they might be a bit too scary for children, which was a bit ridiculous, because even as an eight year old I wasn't scared by them, more intrigued by their trashy feel. These were like horror lite, diet horror for kids. It's not as though the authors came up with any original stories either, each plot was simply ripped off from bad films. They were immensly enjoyable to read though, and my friends and I were forever making our way through the series. My favourite was The Cuckoo Clock Of Doom and Why I'm Afraid of Bees.
2. Matilda by Roald Dahl
I love this book! The best celebration of bookworms ever....this is the book I wish I'd written. Roald Dahl was hugely popular during the 90s, and Mathilda was everywhere, from bookmarks to posters for World Book Day. She made reading cool, and I've always felt a kinship with her character because of this. My family loved Matilda so much we even listened to a recording on the book on audio tape on long car journeys. In fact, Miss Trunchball was one of the first real villians I ever encountered.
3. The Babysitters Club Series by Ann. M. Martin
I read about 20 of these...they made babysitting seem really fun [I know that sounds a bit lame]. Who knows, maybe I'm a nanny now because I read so many of these as a child? The only annoying thing about these books was that they always started off in the same way, with the first chapters introducing the characters in exactly the same way. By the time you had read three of them you didn't care that Mary-Anne was the 'shy one' or that Claudia was the 'artistic one' anymore. I did always like Stacey's introduction though, because the author would catalogue what she was wearing each time, and hot pink leggings with sparkly hightops sounded like a good look to me when I was nine.
4. The Famous Five books by Enid Blyton
Even though the Famous Five books were written during the 1940s and the 1950s, they were still widely read by my young classmates. I think the fact that the five were allowed to go off exploring on their own was the main appeal. What kid doesn't want to run off and take a boat to their own island, spending the entire summer holidays unsupervised by grown-ups? Interestingly some libraries also tried to ban the Famous Five in the 90s for being racist and sexist. It's certainly true that the boys in the books had all the fun, and a lot of the baddies weren't English. I'd still let my kids read them though to teach them self sufficiency - the five could cook, sail and capture smugglers. They were a pretty resourceful bunch.
5. Uncanny by Paul Jennings
Paul Jennings basically wrote gross- out stories for children. His stories involved vomiting, whale guts, disused toilets and in one instance...a tatooed finger found inside a shark. His stories were designed to shock and disturb children, and they succeeded. The best things about these stories is they felt like they could almost come true, even though they often dealt with the supernatural. His characters were just so well-drawn and believable that you would find yourself being a bit paranoid after finishing them or at the very least, a bit freaked out.
Some other books you may have read as a 90s child: The Anastasia Krupnik series by Lois Lowry, Misery Guts by Morris Gleitzman, Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce, Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian and The Sweet Valley High series by Francine Pascal.