I have many fond memories of youthful reading. When I was in elementary school I was enthralled with the likes of Fire-Hunter by Jim Kjelgaard, Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe (abbreviated/illustrated version), and was engrossed/entertained/scared shitless by Monster Tales: Vampires, Werewolves & Things. I'm still looking for a reasonable copy.
With the benefit of hindsight I realize that these books were leading me, inevitably, toward sword-and-sorcery. Barbaric/pre-historic heroes. Warfare. Monsters and the weird. Throw into a bubbling cauldron and you get S&S. Soon I would find The Savage Sword of Conan, and my path was fixed. But I was already leaning heavily in that direction.
My gateways to sword-and-sorcery are here at Tales from the Magician's Skull.