My Favorite Re-reads: A List

by | Feb 29, 2020 | Books, Reading | 18 comments

I’m always intrigued when the topic of re-reading comes up. Sarah Mackenzie at Read-Aloud Revival recently did a blog post/podcast about the importance of childhood re-reading, and I wholeheartedly agree with her assessment of its benefits and virtues. Sarah says:

A first read is a wonderful experience, indeed. But a second, third, or tenth time through offers riches that cannot be found any other way.

It surprises me when people say that they don’t often return to books they’ve read before, because I love revisiting old favorites… and not-so-old favorites! If I read a book and thoroughly enjoy it, I typically re-read it a few years later (or even sooner).

In fact, most of my childhood reading involved paging through my favorites for the thousandth time instead of (gasp) trying a new book. I’m a fairly choosy reader and I was even choosier back then, rarely venturing farther than my Noel Streatfeilds and American Girls and Saddle Clubs. (Speaking of American Girl, I’m in the mood to re-read a few of those mysteries; I have Secrets at Camp Nokomis on my desk. I don’t believe they’re publishing any new AG mysteries anymore, which is too bad – they were fun.)

There’s a select group of stories that I revisit constantly. These are the books that rarely sit for long before they get hauled out and re-read start to finish.

The list of “perfect re-reads” will be different for everyone, but this is my list of all-time favorite re-reads (which means they’re just my favorites in general) that I will continue to revisit industriously for … well, forever. 🙂

Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy series, Emily of Deep Valley and Carney’s House Party

L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series, Pat of Silver Bush series (can’t I re-read these yet? I read them in autumn 2018… that was a long time ago!), Jane of Lantern Hill (pretty much every year), and the Emily of New Moon series

Anything Noel Streatfeild but particularly The Bell Family, Caldicott Place, Ballet Shoes, the Gemma series, Dancing Shoes, Theater Shoes, and The Magic Summer

Pollyanna and Pollyanna Grows Up by Eleanor H. Porter (These are the sort of books you have to re-read because you pick up different subtleties each time)

The Judy Bolton series by Margaret Sutton

Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen (I’ve technically never RE-READ this but I read some of it and didn’t finish it [2016], tried it again and loved it [2017], was in the mood to re-read it but instead listened to the whole thing on audio [2019] and I know I will revisit it again!)

From Anna and Listen for the Singing by Jean Little

Anything by Elizabeth Enright (I’ve read every single one of her novels and cherished each one. Time to re-read the Melendys again, right? No, not quite enough time has passed since I last went through the series…perhaps the Gone-Away Lake series! The last time I read the first book in the series was March 2018, that ought to have been long enough…)

What Katy Did and What Katy Did at School by Susan Coolidge

The Secret School by Avi

The Penderwicks series by Jeanne Birdsall (Let’s see, I read the first book in 2012 and re-read it in dribs and drabs for years and then read the whole thing again 2018 and listened to it on audio in 2019 and can’t I read it again yet??)

The Meg mysteries by Holly Beth Walker (I think it’s time to re-read The Treasure That Nobody Saw)

The Katie John series by Mary Calhoun

Hilda van Stockum’s Mitchells series, which are quite possibly the coziest re-reads you can imagine. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve re-read Friendly Gables, the third book in this unforgettably sweet trilogy. I think it’s time I finally tried her Bantry Bay series…I have never been able to convince myself that it will measure up. But maybe I will be proven wrong!

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

The Patty Fairfield series by Carolyn Wells (oh, these are such fun! And so…unbelievable! The first time I read the series, I tried to count how many marriage proposals Patty received, but it was a lost cause. The answer: far too many to count.)

Beverly Cleary’s Ramona series, but especially Ramona Forever

What books do you love to re-read? Which books are you always returning to? Leave a comment!


  1. Lucy Wright

    My rereads include pretty much all my Noel Streatfeilds, but in particular, The Painted Garden, Growing Summer and Curtain Up. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve read the Chalet series by Elinor Brent Dyer but some books over 50 times I reckon. The joy each read brings is immeasurable and it’s always surprising what I pick up when I reread.

  2. Linda Sammaritan

    For children’s books, I always go back to A Wrinkle in Time and The Bronze Bow. I am one of those people who does not return to very many books (there are so many more I want to read!), but these two can’t be ignored.

  3. Sally Wallach

    Like you, I love to reread. You’ve mentioned many of my favorites, but not all. I would add: Magic or Not by Edward Eager; The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare; The Harper Hall Trilogy by Anne McCaffrey; and The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge. Thanks for the happy thoughts.

    • Anna Rose Johnson

      I love the Edward Eager books! I just finished reading the series last year. I am glad to connect with a fellow re-reader 🙂

  4. Guusje Moore

    The Betsy Tacy books are my most favorite books ever! I love my Noel Streadfeild’s but the Betsy Tacy books are #1 in my heart. Did you know there is Maud Hart Lovelace List serv – it’s been active for more than 20 years and a Facebook Group?

    • Anna Rose Johnson

      The Betsy-Tacy books are truly wonderful! I’ve never seen the List-serv but I am in the FB group 🙂

  5. Jennifer D-K

    Hi Anna Rose – I know you from the FB Betsy-Tacy group, but I’m so excited to see you mention Judy Bolton. I adore those books!! A few years ago I met a new friend who told me she had the whole series, and I spent our entire first conversation wondering when it would be too soon for me to ask if she had dustjackets for all the books and if I could copy them. (I suspect you understand!) Love Judy! Love the class struggle depicted, particularly in the earlier books (though the “The Phantom Friend,” a later book, is an all-time favorite). Anyway – some marvelous books on your list here, and I will check out the ones unfamiliar to me. Thank you for this lovely write-up!

    • Anna Rose Johnson

      Thanks for your comment, Jennifer! The Judy mysteries are so much fun! I just re-read several books in the series, and I’ve been wanting to revisit “The Phantom Friend.” I like them much more than typical mysteries of the era because the characters are realistic and the writing is of a high caliber. I’m glad you enjoyed my post!!

  6. Kathryn Willsey

    There are several more books about Katy and her family. What Katy Did Next, Clover, In The High Valley.

  7. Marion

    Anna Rose this is a wonderful and inspiring book list. I love to reread the American Girl Series(The original girls) Especially Samantha,Molly and Kirsten, Pat of Silver Bush is a Lucy Maud Montgomery favorite. The All Of A Kind Family are good rereads too. You can never go wrong with The Anne Of Green Gables series. Some of your books I am not familiar with but will check them out.

    • Anna Rose Johnson

      Marion, I am sorry I didn’t get back to your comment before! I just read the Kirsten series and enjoyed it a lot! 🙂

  8. Marilyn

    What a great list of books to reread, Anna Rose. I love to reread the Bobbsey Twins,Honeybunch,Little Women and the other Louisa May Alcott books. The Moffetts are another great reread, Little House On The Prairie, The Boxcar Kids, Linda Craig,Secret Garden,all of my Golden Books,Beverly Gray,Nancy Drew,Little Princess,Magic Attic,Hitty Doll and Mandie.

    • Anna Rose Johnson

      Love the Louisa May Alcott books! I am hoping to collect more Beverly Gray mysteries soon, I enjoyed the first one I read. 🙂

  9. Sue George

    I would jump up and down right now if it wouldn’t wake the neighbors! I am just so excited to meet people who have read (and reread!) the same amazing books I have! I have some no one’s mentioned, like Eleanor Cameron’s A Spell is Cast and A Room Made of Windows, Lois Duncan’s Gift of Magic, and of course The Secret Garden. I also have to reread Miss Happiness and Miss Flower regularly and Little Plum, and by Mary Sachs Amy and Laura, and Laura’s Luck. I can’t wait to read all the new ones you all have mentioned, and once again, I am so glad to find out there are people out there like me!

    • Anna Rose Johnson

      Sue, I am so delighted that you enjoyed the post! I’m re-reading The Secret Garden right now 🙂


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