My Bookish Childhood

Today is #bookloversday and what better way to celebrate than to pretend that I totally didn't just ignore this blog for absolute months write a quick and fun impromptu post about some of the books that made me who I am, the literary building blocks of the human that is me.
So, what books formed my literary childhood?* Come and see...

(*That header's kind of a spoiler, haha!)

Title: Five Minutes Peace
Author: Jill Murphy

Mummy elephant just wants five minutes peace to have a nice bath. Her babies have other ideas.

There were of course many countless picture books in my childhood, I've always been a reader since the moment my chubby baby hands could grasp on to a book. But this one stands out in my memory, to the point I recently bought the 30th anniversary edition. The image of a small elephant giving a recorder performance to his clearly thrilled mum is a vivid memory... and totally something I probably did too. Sorry, mum!

Title: The Various Works
Author: Beatrix Potter

Tales of naughty bunnies, helpful mice, washerwoman hedgehogs, and silly ducks.

Growing up, I spent a great deal of time at my grandparents house. And there, in the guest bedroom, was a Beatrix Potter set. And I adored them, perfectly child size and gleaming white, I read them every time I stayed over, hundreds of times. We of course had various copies at home too, but those Nannie ones... they will be forever dear to me. The Tailor Of Gloucester is my favourite of the bunch if you're wondering.

Title: The Jumblies
Author: Edward Lear

Far and few, far and few, are the lands where the Jumblies live; their heads are green, and their hands are blue, and they went to sea in a sieve.

I have absolutely no memory of learning that. But for as long as I can remember I've been able to recite it. This is a wonderful nonsense poem from the writer of The Owl And The Pussycat, but though that is a far more well known poem, this is the one I love. This tiny little hardback copy has been with me forever, and I love it. Despite me and poetry really not getting on. At all. Speaking of...

Title: When We Were Very Young
Author: AA Milne

Poems of bears and snails, missing mothers, rice pudding and a king who just wants some butter.

This is easily my most well-loved book, it has literally fallen apart, poor thing. I do have a beautiful new edition, don't worry, but I wouldn't give this one up for anything. There are two poems in here that were sung to me as lullabyes; Halfway Down and Vespers. They were my first poems and given to me with love. And I cherish them.
Hush hush, whisper who dares,
Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.

Title: The Chronicles Of Narnia
Author: CS Lewis

Through a magic pool, a mysterious wardrobe or a painting, lies the magical land of Narnia.

Hi, I'm Stacey, and I have been obsessed with Narnia since I was two years old. This was because of the BBC series, my beloved Aslan stuffed lion is nearly as old as me, and I have a lamppost in my garden. Then came the books. I first read them at about the age of four, despite probably not understanding half the words. Because I needed to know what happened in the others! Someone adapt all seven already... But yeah. My deepest love.

Title: The BFG
Author: Roald Dahl

Sophie's life changes forever when she meets the BFG and is whisked off to Giant Country.

I know that as a book nerd my favourite Roald Dahl book is supposed to be Matilda... but it wasn't. My favourite was always the story of the Big Friendly Giant and his terrifying brethren. This may be because of my early exposure to, and love of, the animated movie. But either way. I love this book to death, another one that is truly battered from being read over and over and over and over and over and... you know I'm autistic, right?

Title: Basically... everything
Author: Enid Blyton

Runaways, adventures, smugglers, magic trees with fantastical inhabitants. Enid Blyton had it all.

Enid Blyton pretty much WAS my childhood. I loved them all, from the fantastical stories of The Enchanted Wood to the daring adventures of The Famous Five (my fav, I spent a lot of time sat in my washing basket boat with a renamed Scamps toy, being George, demanding boiled eggs). Though I never liked The Secret Seven, tiny me thought they were a Famous Five rip off! And of course the school stories and Hollow Tree House and... I'll stop. I love Enid Blyton sums it up.

Title: The Wind In The Willows and sequels
Author: Kenneth Grahame and William Horwood

The tales of Mole, Rat, Badger and Toad as they live their lives by the river and the Wild Wood.

And another series that my love stems from my lovely Nannie and her own books. She had a set of the Willows books, the original that everyone knows, and the sequels written by William Horwood, and I always looked at her set with sparkly anime eyes of desire. And then I was old enough to read them. And then she gave me a copy of The Willows In Winter for my own. These stories hold a very special place in my heart.

Title: Harry And The Wrinklies
Author: Alan Temperley

When Harry's suddenly orphaned, he finds himself whisked off to an old folks home with a secret.

So, not the Harry you were expecting, right? This was my first Harry love. I was full on obsessed with this book when I was about ten years old. I read it over and over for a good year straight. It was funny and silly and I was forever heartbroken that I missed the tv show they made some time later. This was another that I loved to play pretend that I was in the story. This book is also probably a good 50% of why I picked up...

Title: Harry Potter
Author: JK Rowling

Do... do you really need me to tell you? Yer a wizard, Harry! Oh my gosh! Voldemort! Hogwarts!

This is of no surprise to anyone ever. I was eleven years old when I picked up a copy of the first Harry Potter, when there were two copies, on the bottom shelf in a bookshop. Someone in my class did a book report on it that I vaguely listened to, and it was about a Harry, I needed it! And the rest is history. Who I am as a person would be vastly different if I had never read this wonderful series. As I'm sure is true of many others.

Title: The Illustrated Mum
Author: Jacqueline Wilson

Marigold is not the most conventional of mums, with her tattoos and her erratic behaviour... 

I have an intensely vivid memory of getting this book from the Scholastic catalogue at school at twelve years old. And it, in a way, saved me. I was the only child in my class to have a single parent, let alone one with a tattoo. One of my friends' parents thought I was a bad influence! (For context: I am the most innocent and naive person on the planet.) This book reached out and wrapped me in a blanket and told me that it was all going to be ok. That my mum was fine. And so was I.

Title: The Time Machine
Author: HG Wells

The Time Traveller has a tale to tell, of his marvelous invention and where it took him.

This is a random one, also from when I was twelve years old. We read this novella in English class and it was like a whole world opened up in front of me. School books could be... awesome! I adored it and have gone on to reread it many times and it remains one of my absolute favourites. This was my introduction to classics being enjoyable, to science fiction in books, and to more adult fiction generally. That was a good English class.

Title: The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings
Author: JRR Tolkien

The story of tiny hobbits, and how the smallest of people and objects shape the fate of all.

The final leg, we are now at fourteen years old in the life of Stacey, and she has recently moved to a new town and is out shopping with the new friends. This is stressful. But we are now in a bookshop. And this book has a dragon on it. I need it. Oh, and there's a movie coming out soon, that's cool. And that is when that obsession started. Me and my friends loved the movies and discussed it all day and it was glorious.

Title: Sharpe series
Author: Bernard Cornwell

Richard Sharpe was born in the gutter but his skill will raise him up the ranks of Wellington's army.

And the final entry as I found this series at about fourteen, my love of LOTR led me to the tv show because Sean Bean. This series is where my obsession with all things Napoleonic started. It has a lot to answer for. It is a long series, more than twenty books, and I devoured them. Fun story, several years later I forgot to do my A-level history coursework until a few days before, wrote it about the Napoleonic Wars, got an A. Books save lives*.

*But seriously, don't leave your coursework to the last minute, kids!

So there we have it, fourteen books, series, or authors that formed the basis of my bookish childhood. I was an odd child but I have excellent taste in books. Cough. So, what were your most significant childhood books? Because you should tell me. Because who doesn't love talking endlessly about books? Silly people, that's who.

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