It’s World Book Day! Don’t know what that is? Here’s an official explanation:
World Book Day was designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and is marked in over 100 countries around the globe. World Book Day is a partnership of publishers, booksellers and interested parties who work together to promote books and reading for the personal enrichment and enjoyment of all.
On Monday, some of our team attended the Norwich date of the Biggest Book Show on Earth, an event curated by the World Book Day UK team and currently on tour across the UK and Ireland. A literary road show, the event gives children across the country the opportunity to hear some of their favourite author and illustrators talk about their books, and even gives them the chance to meet them afterwards during signings.
The Norwich date was SO much fun; hosted by Steven Butler, the day featured morning and afternoon sessions from Liz Pichon (author of Tom Gates), Holly Smale (author of the Geek Girl series), Julian Clary & David Roberts (author and illustrator of The Bolds), Martin Brown (illustrator of the Horrible Histories series), plus the Roald Dahl Imagination Seekers! We were live-tweeting our experience of the event, so why not take a look at our twitter timeline to see what we got up to: @NorfolkSLS
For our third instalment of Theme Thursday, we thought we’d celebrate World Book Day by sharing the books that inspired our office to read. This was something Holly Smale discussed on Monday as she mentioned some of the books that had inspired her to read at a young age, so we thought: why not share what inspired us?
I was very lucky to be taken to the library by my Mum from an early age and while there are hundreds of picture books I remember falling in love with, my real infatuation with reading came from one author: Roald Dahl. I read my way through all of his books at a incredibly quick rate, usually re-reading them all AGAIN in rapid succession as soon as I was finished. All of his books have a special place in my heart, but there’s a reason Matilda is my favourite and this is it; what better message for children who love to get lost in reading?!
“Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.”
Later on, I remember becoming utterly captivated by Philip Ridley’s books after encountering ‘Scribble Boy’ as part of a class read in middle school. It was the first time I remember seeing Chris Riddell’s amazing illustrations, someone I’ve been a firm fan of ever since!
I was an avid Enid Blyton fan, moving on to Swallows and Amazons. I also remember in particular reading Bobby Brewster books after a visit to our school from the author H.E. Todd.
I remember being excited by the Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton and imagining I was in that tree with all those funny characters. I also love anything horsey especially books by the Pullein-Thomson sisters.
The Farthest Away Mountain by Lynne Reid Banks
This book was read to me by my favourite teacher, Mrs Leveridge, when I was in Year 2. She was the woman who inspired my love of reading and this book was a fantastic tale with a heroic female lead. No matter how hard anyone tried to reach the mountain it never got any closer. That was until Dakin found herself walking towards it… I chose this book because whenever I think about it I am transported back to my old classroom and remember how I excited I was to find out what happened in the next chapter.
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
I had to include this picture book because it was the first one I looked at and thought – wow this is strange! It showed me that not all stories had to be ‘pretty’ and it was far more interesting to be a little on the odd side (like me at that age!) I remember staring at the images over and over trying to imagine myself in the story.
You wouldn’t know that I’d loved this book, as my earliest experience with it was simply to tear it and rip it practically to bits; Blackie’s Children’s Annual was a very large, heavy and treasured volume my mother had kept from her early childhood in the 1920s, but somehow I managed to come across it at an unsuitable age and show an attraction to the paper and printed page which has never left me…
My poor Mother taped it up as best she could, and very bravely allowed me continued access to it so that I came to love its stories, illustrations, poems and so on very early. What I particularly loved and still do, are the end-papers which show a Lutyens-style cottage in snowy woods, as they bore a similarity to Little Grey Rabbit’s house; I also loved those books by Alison Uttley at an early age. They seem rather sickly to me now, but I am still happy to return to the mangled, sellotape-shrivelled brown pages of the annual.
My Mum says I pretty much taught myself to read, before I went to school with the few children’s books that we had at home and I still remember well the first proper book that I read that hooked me on reading- it was Lorna Doone by Richard Doddridge Blackmore, published in 1869.
At home we had maybe five books for grown-ups…one of them was a copy of Lorna Doone that looked so old that it could have been an early edition- it was definitely from the early part of the last century and was at least 50 years old in the early 70s (the others were Agatha Christies, all of which I had read by the time I was nine!)
The pages were yellowed and delicate and I think that the cover had gold writing on it. I still remember the way that the dialect was written phonetically and if I close my eyes I can picture a particular passage about fish in stream…it made such a big impression given that I haven’t read it since!
I was seven and watching the first televised series of Poldark at the same time as I was reading Lorna Doone and in my mind, the book and the TV series informed each other- I imagined the clothes, homes and settings being the same.
After that I really was hooked on books- I did English as a degree and I couldn’t think of anything better than reading books; I’m still a total bookface!
Oh dear…I’m afraid it was Enid Blyton- growing up in the early ’60s, there wasn’t a lot of choice! Beautifully illustrated copies of the 3 volumes of Heidi took me to the Alps, and Alice in Wonderland gave me nightmares about packs of cards in my feverish state with chickenpox.
Enid Blyton’s Five Find-Outers and Dog, Adventure Series, Secret of…series and Famous Five were books that I loved as a child and frequently read over and over. Reading was, and remainds, a huge passion that began with those books.
You can see our previous Theme Thursday lists here.