We’ve all got a favourite childhood story we loved growing up. And for those of us that never grew up, they’re still that go-to story on those special occasions of memories and nostalgia.
As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of World Book Day, Margate Bookie asked its incredible team what their cherished children’s books are and why.
Malory Towers by Enid Blyton. I dreamed of being sent to boarding school and had a suitcase packed in case like the working-class kid I am. When I was forced to go in-patient for anorexia, I thought it might be like boarding school, just with fewer midnight feasts, obvs. I loved Darryl and her energy and passion.
Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kästner. My first taste, as an 8 year old, of detective fiction. A young boy gathers a group of children ‘detectives’ to help him get back his stolen money. Using logic and teamwork to track down and stop the thief…
Who wouldn’t want to join their gang?
I loved The Secret Garden because it was such a hopeful book. I loved that a grumpy orphan and her invalid cousin could be transformed by the love of nature. Love transformed those children and the adults, too.
Don Quijote de La Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes. A children’s copy, which I still have with beautiful illustrations. An inspiring story with colonialism, fake Spanish knight errant, chasing ridiculous dreams and imaginary foes. I was reading this as a child in South America, where we were taught history and the wars of independence. Don Quijote, from an unknown place in La Mancha, was a knight pursuing his own imaginary mission, for the love of his Dulcinea. It captured my imagination. Made me think of the heroism of Zilensky, we should all fight for our ideals and never give up.
An absolute quality story from my childhood was Redwall by Brian Jacques. It’s forest animals fighting against rats, a mouse becomes the hero, and there’s a massive feast afterwards. It’s ace. What’s not to like?
For me, it was The Never-Ending Story. I remember the penny dropping with Never-Ending story, realising the value and fragility of my own imagination. I still have dreams about flying around on Falkor’s back.
Probably a typical one, but Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian was my childhood muse. It really opened up the literary world for me, sharing the life of a young evacuee and an elderly recluse in World War II, sharing the events going on around them, as well as their own personal problems. It was the book that encouraged me to read more and experience more of the highs and lows Michelle Magorian wrote, as well as inspiring me to write more about the world around me.
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Check out the website for what World Book Day has in store for us today, as well as everything they have lined up.