For as long as I can remember I’ve been a bookworm. My mum always feared I would struggle in school, because as a toddler I couldn’t do 4 piece jigsaws or figure out shape sorter toys, but when I brought a book home and read it to her, her fears more or less went away.
Childhood literature helps feed the imagination, increase creativity and expands the language of a child, and I think giving an appetite for reading is one of the best gifts my family gave me.
I picked out a few book series which were the most prominent in my childhood years, and are what I would push into the hands of any possible future children of my own.
Also writing this made me feel very old, as well as incredibly nostalgic.
The Faraway Tree
These came in a collection of books, consisting of many short stories. It begins with a family moving to the countryside and the children discover an enchanted wood. In the middle of the woods stood a humongous tree that was home to magical creatures and led to various worlds that existed on clouds up above. These included The Land of Nursery Rhymes, The Land of Birthday Parties and The Land of Spells. It was brilliant for a child with an over-active imagination. Enid Blyton, the author, is one of Britain’s most iconic children writers, and although she wrote books long before I was a child, and her classics are reminiscent of 1930s and 1940s Britain, they are also timeless in content.
The Famous Five
Another collection by the brilliant Enid Blyton: these do not include magic or fantasy but instead focus on older children who sought adventure that often involved treasure, smugglers and the occasional picnic. The Famous Five gang also includes an intelligent dog, Timmy, which would leave the older or younger me immediately sold by the novels. As the language of the 1930s and 1940s differs so much from around ten years ago, I often found myself picking up on outdated phrases that could lead to a few odd looks, but why not say “Absolutely Spiffing!” without shame.
The Sleepover Club
The Sleepover Club novels were adored by my friends and I, we even started our own sleepover club and I’m confident that we weren’t the only ones. The novels involved a group of friends who would host sleepovers at one another’s houses, with various themes or mishaps. These were the first set of books I read that didn’t include pictures (I was shocked when my sister warned me they had none), so it’s easy to trust their quality if they can leave young girls across the country hooked with just words.
Horrible Histories/Horrible Science
These weren’t series of novels, but of books that taught the reader about various historical or scientific topics using humour and cartoons. I loved to read these, and surprisingly the science books were my favourite to say I’m a humanities girl. I still remember facts I learnt from these books, and I still sometimes unashamedly quote them in conversation. I suppose if anything they helped to build my appetite for learning, because they were fun, lighthearted, and I’ve always been a bit of a nerd.
Not a series of books but a well known childrens author. My generation read countless books by her, perhaps one of her most famous examples is The Story of Tracy Beaker. Her novels focused on children who dealt with various issues e.g. divorce, adoption, bullying, and death. However she managed to turn these into enjoyable and even funny stories, so they weren’t incredibly depressing for a young child to read, but they remained real and empathetic. She also wrote many teen novels that focused on similar themes, which led me into reading more pre-teen/teen novels when I was older.