Today is World Book Day, a yearly celebration of books and reading for kids across the UK. It’s a day dedicated to showing kids the joy of reading by celebrating books through author events, free book vouchers and dressing up basically my idea of a good day! So with everyone across the UK celebrating books today, I thought I’d celebrate ten of the books that made me a reader. That’s not to say these are the only books I loved as a child, that post would take all day to write, these are just ten of the books that had an awful lot to do with making me a reader.
Where’s Spot? – To put it simply I was obsessed with this book as a child. It’s the first book I really remember owning and I never got bored with it. I also felt weirdly possessive of it, so much so that I insisted that both the cuddly Spot toys we had were mine, and under no circumstances was Laura allowed to consider the toys or the book hers.
The Little Girl and the Tiny Doll – My Grandma played a huge part in me becoming a reader, she was a voracious reader herself and took such joy in reading, and discussing books of all kinds, with me. And this book, and The Bedspread, was integral to that. It belonged to my Dad and his siblings and my Grandma kept it all those years, so that when we’d spend the night at their house we’d sneak into bed with Grandma first thing in the morning and she’d read from it again and again. Or we’d snuggle in one of our twin beds at bedtime to have her read book after book after book to us.
It’s one of my favourite memories of my childhood and my Grandma. As for why this story out of all of those we shared with her; I loved the idea of a little doll getting to explore and enjoy a giant supermarket freezer. How cool would it have been to play tennis withe fish fingers and peas? And those illustrations? Simply stunning.
Little Bear’s Trousers – Jane Hissey’s Old Bear series is just wonderful and my Mum read all these books to me so much the spines are so cracked, despite that the books themselves are perfectly spotless still. That’s how much we loved them! The tales are packed with gorgeous illustrations of toys that come to life and have amazing adventures, there’s the giraffe Jolly Tall, Old Bear – the wise leader with his brilliant orange trousers, the inquisitive Little Bear, Owl, Zebra, Duck and Rabbit. If you’ve not read them, you need to. They’re amazing.
James and the Giant Peach – Our local library was one of my favourite places as a child. I’d go in every week and take out as many books as possible. Pretty much every time, this book would be in my pile. I adored it. It’s classic Dahl, a little bit magical, a little bit creepy, a huge amount of awesome.
Topsy and Tim – The only book from my childhood featuring twins, which is clearly why I loved it. Plus the simple stories and clear illustrations made them enjoyable again and again. I loved these characters so much that I even named my Goldfish Tim. Laura’s was Topsy. Yes, we were that cool. Also, check our those outfits! Who doesn’t want to own one of those jumpers?!
Charlotte’s Web – This book is magical and I can’t fault any part of it. I must have read it hundreds of times and even now I find it impossible to choose a favourite character. Is it wise old Charlotte, lovable Wilbur or inquisitive Fern? I even have a soft spot for that comedy rat!
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl – There’s something so awe-inspiring about this diary, I always found it so fascinating imagining myself in Anne Frank’s position. Going through the enormity of hiding from death whilst dealing with the minutiae of everyday life and growing up. It’s simply fascinating and the most amazing way of getting kids to understand what war means for people like them.
Please Mrs Butler – I’ve never been a poem or verse fan, except for this book. There’s nothing not to like about the genius poems of Allan Ahlberg and ‘Please, Sir, it isn’t fair’ will never not be a piece of perfect poetry.
When the Moon was Blue and other stories – of all the Enid Blyton books in the world this one was my favourite and was reread umpteen times. That’s the joy of the super short stories isn’t it, you can read them again and again and still not get bored!
Matilda – I’m a cliché I know, I work in publishing and Matilda is one of my favourite books. What can I say, it’s a cliché for a reason. Amy child who was an avid reader would always find something in Matilda to resonate with, and I wasn’t an exception. I loved how Roald Dahl made it awesome to be a reader and quiet and different with this one book. I didn’t need to hide my book obsession with Matilda around.
So tell me, what were your favourite books as a child, is there one book that made you a reader?