Christine, thank you for this succinct, powerful course on developing style!
Aside from the fact that so many of my "top eight" childhood influences were books, a few other themes around content and style emerged:
Strong Female Characters: Dealing with Dragons (Cimorene), Ella Enchanted (Ella) and Harry Potter (Hermione) all feature intelligent, resilient, courageous women. This is certainly a theme I am continually drawn toward as an adult, both in literature and art.
Challenging Authority: Harry Potter and Frindle both show children who are skeptical of authority, challenge the status quo, and eventually become leaders of a movement that changes their world.
Humor: To me, Calvin & Hobbes is a masterpiece. The comics--at times deceptively simple, at times rich and ornate--are driven by a humor that is subtle (e.g., Calvin's facial expression and Hobbe's deadpan asides), imaginative (e.g., the film noir scenes), absurdist (e.g., Calvinball) and existential (e.g., "I'm significant!").
Color: Man, was I obsessed with Lisa Frank. For an eight-year-old girl, the bubblegum-hues-meets-adorable-animals was pure happiness. The Napping House and Winnie the Pooh, on the other hand, exist in much more muted, pastel worlds. I'm still in the process of discovering my adult relationship to color and look forward to seeing what palettes I'm drawn to as I make more art.