We all have one book that sticks out in our memories – one that set our imaginations wild and sparked a life-long love of reading. To celebrate World Book Day 2017 we asked a few Bloomsbury Education authors to talk about the books that began their reading journey…
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Treasure Island was my favourite book when I was growing up. Buried gold; the original pirate-rogue, Long John Silver; a mutiny; a young hero somehow defying death and a swarm of cut-throat buccaneers; and a treacherous parrot. I’ve never wanted to be part of an adventure quite the way I wanted to be on board The Hispaniola as a boy.
Ross Morrison McGill (@TeacherToolkit)
Sophie’s World. It captured my imagination and rekindled my love for reading as a young adult.
One of my favourite books was Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories. I was particularly fond of the story about how the elephant got his trunk. I think it appealed to me because of the focus on the naughty young elephant who got his own back on this uncles and aunts. But there was a deep sense of Africa and the exoticism of distant lands which permeated the both the pages and, ofcourse, the illustrations. Another Kipling story, in a different collection, which appealed to me enormously was Rikki Tikki Tavi, the heroic mongoose who fought with the snakes. I identified whole-heartedly with Rikki and I thrilled as I read the account of his battles from which he always emerged victorious against the odds.
“My favourite book as a young child was There’s a Wocket in My Pocket by Dr. Seuss. My dad used to read this to me and my sister in bed, so I associate the book with bonding. The book is full of weird and wonderful nonsense words too, and I’m sure that it helped fuel my subsequent love of language and wordplay. I also perceived a melancholy underpinning to the book – the illustrations seem to portray the protagonist as being all alone in a vast house, even though he is a young kid, and no reference is ever made to his parents or family. The story is told in the first person singular. I found this somehow sad.”
My favourite books that I read as a child were the Famous Five series. I used to love reading them and imagining the adventures as if they were real life. It was a world that I felt I could dive into when I opened the books.
The book that inspired me most as a young reader like no other was the TinTin book The Black Island. Why? It was THRILLING, a non-stop adventure.
It was FUNNY – The Thompson/Thomson twins are sooo stupid, especially as they are supposed to be policeman. And Captain Haddock – what a great name for a former ship’s captain! He was always get a little ‘tiddly’ shall we say and would begin saying such ridiculous things as ‘blistering barnacles’!
What’s more, it was totally and utterly MAGICAL. I wanted to jump into the world of that book and BE Tintin – have Snowy as my dog, and go on an adventure to a Scottish island where I would meet a g- I won’t say any more. You try it. You find out. But all TinTin books are fantastic. They’re wonderfully escapist stories, and have such fabulous artwork.And great, memorable characters to boot. I love geography and travel, so I loved the fact that TinTin travelled all over the world too – Tibet, Africa, South America, Australia, Russia – everywhere. Even the moon!
I was horse-mad so Black Beauty stands out, but there were always ‘girl gets horse/girl wins horse/girl wins prizes with horse’ type books that I devoured. Especially the ‘girl wins horse’ one, as I’d entered a real competition to win a horse, run by a daily newspaper (which seems massively irresponsible these days). Anyway, I didn’t win so horse ownership remained an endless dream, and ‘girl wins horse’ allowed me to experience such joy vicariously.
There’s another book I remember. It was called Isle of Dogs and no, it wasn’t about a dockland area in London. It was about an actual island with dogs on it. The dogs were all pedigrees being transferred somewhere (by ship or plane, I can’t remember which) but a sinking/crash into the sea meant the humans all perished and the dogs swam to a remote island, and the story played out in a sort of doggy Lord of the Flies type of way. I was primary age when I read it, and at the time it latched into my imagination and took me over. I’ve never been able to find it since, despite various searches, so it clearly wasn’t a classic or written by someone well known. But whoever that author is, and wherever they may be, thank you!!
My favourite book was The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper. I was fascinated by the concept of the Light and the Dark and the battle raging through the centuries – and of course, Will is a fantastic central character, learning about his abilities and frequently in real danger. It kept me gripped and enthralled for many a night!
My favourite book as a child was easily The Silver Sword by Ian Serrallier. It was the first story I read that had a multi viewpoint. I’ve always been fascinated by World War 2 and this had a different take on the subject with children as the main characters. I especially identified with Jan, a misfit who was part rogue part hero. I still have The tattered copy I read in my collection.
My favourite book when I was young was The Hobbit. I loved the adventure of it all, that journey through strange, exotic lands that Tolkien describes so well it seems as if they’re real. And what a great ending! A huge battle with a dragon – I mean, what’s not to like?
As a young child, my absolute favourite book was Winnie the Pooh – my battered copy shows evidence of how much I read and reread it. I liked it so much for its gentle humour, which still appeals to me now.
Sly Fox and the Red Hen. When I was very young, my parents wentaway for ten days to
Canada, and some family friends stayed with us. My parents had hidden a present around the house for each of my siblings and I every day, with cryptic clues (I struggle with one packed lunch for my own children), and this book was one of my presents.
I remember it distinctly as being the first book I read on my own, and read it to everyone and anyone so much that I recited it back to my parents on their return.
This book started my love for books. And hens. But mainly hens.