A book that I constantly read as a child was ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ by Roald Dahl. The copy I still own is torn and tattered but very precious to me. I really enjoyed the song the children sing about the farmers and how pleasing the rhyme was to the ear. I also have vivid memories of my dad reading to me and my brothers before bed. A particular favourite was ‘The Hobbit’ by J.R.R Tolkien. I can still remember hearing my dad read about the wolves circling the trees to catch Bilbo and the dwarves. Scary stuff! Since then, I have enjoyed reading Tolkien’s epic, ‘The Lord of the Rings’. I also appreciate non-fiction books, especially those with a history or music theme.
I was particularly fond of an A4 colourful set of traditional stories when I was very young and I collected Ladybird and Bible story books, which I still have! I liked my early reading books and enjoyed Pedro the Donkey as well as the Village with Three Corners. Later, I especially enjoyed Black Beauty (as I was horse riding), the Choose Your Own Adventure series, Enid Blyton and comic strips such as Asterix. I had a passion for drawing cartoons and comic strips and would display them in the quiet room/ reading area at school.
At secondary school, I fell in love with the Shakespearean sonnet so read a lot of Shakespeare and began writing sonnets. I continue to write poetry today and have been interested in the clay poetry of Jack Clemo as well as that of other living and past poets. As reading is a huge part of my job as a teacher, I like to escape through Audible. I love the writers Abi Dare, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Sebastian Faulks and Christy Lefteri. Although, I like to listen to non-fiction too. A lot of the time, my head can be found inside of a recipe book!
As a child, my Mum read me this book (Bagpuss) nearly every night as I loved it so much. She’d put on silly voices for all the characters and sang the song the mice sang. Her doing this and sharing lots of other books with me, gave me a great love of reading, so much so that I now read every night.
I read all books, from fantasy to thrillers, crime & historical novels. I love to escape to other worlds and become different characters. I’ve carried on this with my son, who is now a massive Anthony Horowitz fan.
"Once upon a bicycle, so they say, A jolly postman came one day..."
One of my favourite books as a child was "The Jolly Postman" by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. My Mum would keep this book in a drawer and my brothers and I were only allowed to read it when we were all together. We took it in turns to take the letters out of the envelopes and were always very careful about putting them back safely. I remember feeling that sharing this book together was very special.
Now, I love reading bedtime stories to my 2 children. It's my favourite time of the day! We snuggle together and enjoy talking about the stories and pictures. Any book by Julia Donaldson is a favourite in our house at the moment!
When I get time to read for pleasure, I am reading the Poldark novels by Winston Graham. I'm about to start novel number 4- "Warleggan" My Gran is 92 and is re-reading all of these. When she finishes a novel, she passes it onto me. Whenever we get together, we have a natter about these books and the characters over a cup of tea and a piece of cake!
A firm favourite in our household was the Percy the Parkkeeper book series from author Nick Butterworth. A particular favourite was ‘After the Storm’. I loved looking at the large treehouse that Percy made for all of the animals that lost their homes in the storm. The treehouse had many rickety bridges, hammocks for the hedgehogs, swings for the rabbits and even a twisting slide for the squirrels – I distinctly remember wishing I could play in a treehouse as amazing as that one! My 5-month-old nephew was named Percy, having been influenced by our favourite childhood books.
I now enjoy reading a variety of book genres, having just finished the first in ‘The Thursday Murder Club’ series by Richard Osman, and I am currently reading ‘The Midnight Guardians’ by Ross Montgomery.
The Velveteen Rabbit
Margery Williams- Author
William Nicholson- illustrator
As a child, I have very fond memories of my mum reading The Velveteen Rabbit to me. My mum still even has the well-loved copy of this book in her loft. I distinctly remember thinking how much I loved my toy rabbit and wishing it would come to life. When my children were young, I bought a copy of this book so I could share the enchanting tale with them. My favourite time of the day would be snuggling up together at bedtime and reading it to them.
HC Anderson’s Fairy tales (Hans Christian Anderson- author)
Wind in The Willows (This book was re-told by Anne McKie and illustrated by Ken McKie)
These two books are my very own originals and were both read to me by my parents as a child. Growing up in Denmark, my mum would read the fairy tales of the Danish author Hans Christian Anderson to me, and this particular book had 40 of his fairy tales to choose from! I remember enjoying the stories The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina and The Princess and The Pea. I would ask my mum to read these over and over again, as I have always loved the escapism fairy tales bring.
The second book, The Wind in The Willows, is actually an original from the year I was born, and I remember my Dad reading this story to me and my little brother during bedtimes, and him using a different voice for each character. We always found this hilarious and still enjoy reminiscing about it today.
As a child, I loved reading adventure and mystery based stories, with the Secret Seven books by Enid Blyton a particular favourite. I enjoyed making predictions and piecing the clues together, then checking if I was right at the end. Another book I stumbled across which I've read many times is 'You be the Jury' by Marvin Miller. The book has a number of fictional, child friendly court cases and once you've read the case, you need to examine the exhibits before the actual verdict is revealed. I've shared these with many classes, as well as my 2 daughters!
I've continued to enjoy mystery and crime based books as an adult, with Robert Galbraith's 'Strike' series a particular favourite.