Welcome to my first blog, and the first in a little mini-series about books that have played an important part in various stages of my life. The first stage – my childhood. Let me know what you think of my choices!
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
I promised myself I’d only use 5 books in this list, otherwise all the Harry Potter books would be on here! The Philosopher’s Stone is my number 1 because getting this book changed my life; I was 8 years old, about to move to the other side of the world. Why was the story of an 11 year old boy who goes to wizard school so important? It kick started my imagination. Harry wasn’t afraid to pack up and go to a new place, why should I have been?
Harry’s story showed me that the world is greater than we could ever imagine at the age of 8. Hagrid rocks up at that shack, told Harry he was a wizard and Harry trusted him. I was a little girl who moved around, I didn’t trust anyone! JKR taught me in that one book that you can’t judge a person by their appearance and sometimes, you just have to trust people. I think all kids reach an age where they are discovering trust, and this book helped me along with that.
Matilda by Roald Dahl
What is not to love about a Roald Dahl novel? I could’ve picked any one of his classics for this list, but Matilda stands out for me. I was (still am!) a bookworm. I learned to read a lot faster than many kids in my schools. Matilda was the first fictional character I remember identifying with, even if I couldn’t get my coco pops to pour themselves.
On a slight tangent, Matilda also brought out my more opinionated side; not because of the book, because of the film. Boy, did I not agree with an American Matilda! How could they have done that to my story?! I had created my own version of Matilda, and had to accept that others didn’t share in my exact view. Perhaps I was a spoiled kid, or perhaps all children need to learn this lesson. We all have to at some point.
Feather Boy by Nicky Singer
Yet another book that seemed to fall into my hands at a rather appropriate time. The story is that the lead character’s parents are getting divorced and Robert finds solace in his adventures going to see Edith and the subsequent mystery to be solved. Every child I knew whose parents were getting divorced were totally consumed and labelled by that. This book taught me that children – people – don’t need to be known by that fact.
Also, who knew that the guy who played Niker (the bully) in the CBBC adaption of Feather Boy would grow up and transform into Robbie in Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging? The 15 year old version of me still swoons.
Horrible Histories: The Woeful Second World War by Terry Deary
This book cemented my love for History, and from a young age, I must’ve been 9 or 10 when I read these, but I knew that this was the era of History I would be most interested in. I quoted this book in my personal statement when applying to university and it sat proudly on my bookshelf whilst I slogged over my dissertation.
Plus, these books were really funny! It takes a special kind of author to make the Second World War, the Egyptians to the Tudors humorous subjects. Snaps for Terry Deary!
The Big Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook by Joyce Lankester Brisley
I’m pretty sure at some point in my life, I had a tantrum in a sweet shop, because I wanted a lb’s worth of penny sweets like Milly-Molly-Mandy got from the sweet shop in one of the stories in this book. Her stories were so ‘oldy-worldy’. It’s only now, as I write this blog post, that I realise I’ve always connected to the past and older generations, and it’s probably due to reading these stories from about 7 years old.