Growing Up With History #1

When I first began planning this feature I knew I wanted to take some time to showcase some of the novels that got me into reading and loving historical fiction in the first place. So here goes.

Growing Up With Jack and Annie: The Magic Tree House Books

The Magic Tree House books by Mary Pope Osborne were the first books that I can remember that really brought alive the places that the characters, Jack and Annie, visited. Other books told great stories but I can't remember any others before these that helped me imagine all the various places and times in history so vividly. They were my favourite books.

I remember wishing I lived in Frog Creek and could join Jack and Annie on all their amazing adventures. How many kids can say they've been to all the places Jack and Annie went? They visited dinosaurs, medieval knights, mummies, pirates, and ninjas - and all in the first five books!

I distinctly remember which ones were my favourites, mostly because those were the ones that either inspired me to research the time period or to write a story set in that time myself. When reading that little bit about the setting made me determined to know more, Mary Pope Osborne had written a hit in my books.

I distinctly remember loving both Vacation under the Volcano and Hour of the Olympics, probably because they were set in ancient Rome and Greece and were about notable events that I had already had an interest in. Apparently that interest has stayed with me, as this year at school I took classes on both ancient civilizations.

What is is with me and wars I could not tell you, but I absolutely loved these two instalments of the series. Possibly because, again, they were notable events in time that I had already learned a bit about. I also loved seeing the humanity in the middle of terrible fighting, maybe even more so because it came from the eyes of fellow children.

These two round out my favourite Magic Tree House books because they both inspired me to write. Also, I have some weird obsession with natural disasters (maybe this is where I got that). I remember finishing Earthquake and going into my mom's work the next day, sitting at her typewriter, and beginning a time travel story about a modern girl who is transported to 1906 San Francisco and experiences the same earthquake. I loved that the novels inspired me to create my own.

I want to know: What books got you into reading? Was there a specific genre that has caught your mind from the very beginning, like historical fiction has for me? I'd love to hear!


  1. OH MY GOSH RIGHT!!! I loved that series as a kid!!! I still have a ton of them, including Christmas in Camelot :D That one was definitely one of my favorites! And I remember feeling so special, because I got in hardcover, whereas most of the other ones I had were in paperback. GOOD TIMES! I had to be about... five? To about eight. Those were some really good books :)

    1. These were amazing books! I still have them all too; they're definitely being passed on to my kids. I remember Christmas in Camelot as well. That it was hardcover was definitely exciting :) I really do think reading these at such a young age helped me develop the love for history I have today. Glad I'm not the only one who loved them! :)

  2. My very first historical fiction book I read was Scott O'Dell's Island of the Blue Dolphins. It is a true story, but it is classified as historical fiction. That book was my favorite growing up and it drove my parents crazy with my constant demands to check it out of the library. It never occurred to anyone to buy a copy. That's the book that made me interested in history. I was about 8 when I read it.

    1. Ahh, I remember reading that one in school and enjoying it. I think that one really helped a lot of people get into historical-based stories more, which kind of makes me automatically fond of it :)


I'd love to hear what you think!