I've not blogged about writing, or books, for quite a while, and as a children's author I guess I should! The 9th of August was World Book Lovers Day, so for today's blog, I'm writing about books I have enjoyed reading with my children, and some I remember from my own childhood.
One book which will always be very special to me is "There's a House Inside My Mummy" by Giles Andreae. I often read this to my 3 year old during my pregnancy with his little brother. The book is so sweet, and a delight to share with young children. Written in rhyme, the style in which I myself write, the story never tires, and I would thoroughly recommend it, especially to any parents-to-be struggling to answer awkward questions about growing baby bumps. Interesting fact, Giles Andreae is also the creator of the Purple Ronnie greetings card that have brightened many a special occasion.
My children and I have very much enjoyed the Charlie and Lola books by Lauren Child, and The Large Family series by Jill Murphy. The fact that these books have been adapted for children's TV probably added to the appeal for my children, but the books are very enjoyable even without seeing the TV versions. My favourite Charlie and Lola story is "But I Am an Alligator!" My boys both went through a similar phase to Lola, where all they wanted to wear was a crocodile costume. I could often be seen hand in hand with a large reptile in Tesco. I have noticed my boys use the word "actually" quite often, I think that's Lola's influence!
I recently watched a film version of The Borrowers, which instantly took me back to my childhood. I was very pleased to dig out my Borrowers omnibus by Mary Norton, that's another one to add to my bedtime reading list for the kids. I know they will enjoy the stories of the tiny little people who are so inventive. In fact it has become a joke in our house if something goes missing, that "the borrowers must have taken it". Thinking about it, I was really quite a bookworm as a child. I can remember so many wonderful stories to inspire the imagination...the Narnia books by C.S. Lewis, Matilda and the BFG by Roald Dahl, Black Beauty, The Secret Garden, The Water Babies, The Box of Delights. My list could go on and on...
My own children, share my love of books, my youngest at 4 cannot read by himself of course, however, the older ones are very reluctant to read independently. My son loves being read to, and when pushed, is a very capable reader. Last year his teacher asked if he read much at home, as he had such a good vocabulary. Obviously, even being read to is still very valuable, I just hope he will soon become more willing to get lost in a book, and take enjoyment from reading, rather than seeing it as a chore. I wonder if most children nowadays regard reading this way? I hope there are still children who can resist the video games, TV etc in favour of picking up a book, but sadly, maybe there are just too many technological options which are more appealing.
Bedtime in our house involves stories, without fail. I have four kids at home, so I always hope they choose stories I like. The youngest sometimes asks for the same story night after night for weeks on end! Peppa Pig is indeed very loveable, but there's only so many times I can take reading about her trip to the dentist. Thankfully, he's quite happy for a different story every night at the moment. The older ones enjoy Horrid Henry books, which I agree are very funny. I was concerned that "Horrid Henry's Guide to Perfect Parents" would give them ideas, but so far there's been no problems. Enid Blyton's Amelia Jane books about the naughty doll have been popular, the illustrations have been modernised, but the books have really passed the test of time, being first published in 1939. We've read and enjoyed the Spy Dogs books by Andrew Cope, and my favourites of recent have been Mr. Stink and Billionaire Boy by David Walliams. Walliams had me trying to decide if I was reading for the kids, or myself!
Lastly, I'll add my own stories. Admittedly, my kids may be slightly biased, but they all enjoy "Andrew's Fairy Tale" and "The Bankrupt Tooth Fairy". The stories were inspired by them, and I was very touched when after hearing "Andrew's Fairy Tale" for the first time, my son had a tear in his eye when the boy fairy in the story had to go home. They like the illustrations and the rhymes. I'm being pestered to write a story about the other two and have a few ideas in mind. Watch this space!
Please feel free to add any books that really made an impression on you during childhood, or any of your favourites to share with children.