Thursday, 26 February 2015

Nostalgia Reading - My Favourite Childhood Books

I remember several stories fondly from my childhood and unfortunately I cannot remember what books they were from.

For example I remember a big red book that had lots of children's stories in it including one about a pink rabbit that was shivering (it turned out to be made of pink jelly) and a brother and sister where the brother was allowed to cut the cake, but the sister would be the one to pick who had which part. I have no idea which book they are from, but they have stuck will me all these years.

However, there are a couple of books I do remember very clearly. One was Grimm's complete Fairy Tales (I'm not sure what edition) and I absolutely loved those stories. I'm sure my love of fantasy started with them, although it would not grow until a few years later. The other set of books I remember from that young age are the My Naught Little Sister stories by Dorothy Edwards. I was most struck by when she ate all the silver balls off a cake :).

My parents always encouraged us to read and always read us bedtime stories and I have appreciated the written word ever since. I must admit I was almost put off that one year when, for Christmas, Sophie (my twin) was given three lovely different books and I got three copies of Little Women. I can only think that everyone decided we were the right age and I was the oldest so I was given Little Women. I have held a grudge against that book ever since.

Here's another confession, I have never really liked the traditional literary classics like Dickens and Austin. I have quite a dislike for Dickens actually, except his ghost stories, but I think that may be to do with being forced to study Great Expectations at school. Although I love Shakespeare; but then who doesn't like dirty jokes and lots of violent death? ;)

However, there is one classic I do love and that is The Hobbit by J.R.R.Tolkien. This is the book that bloomed my love for fantasy. To be honest I have never actually read it myself. It was read to us at primary school when I was about seven and it created a love for epic fantasy in me that has never gone away. The ideas and races and the quest settled in my bones and that was the moment I knew I wanted to write as well as read.

Speaking of the Hobbit, does anyone else think there may have been a primary school version of the book, or at least an agreement between primary school teachers about where to stop reading? I didn't know half the dwarves died for years, as far as I was concerned the story ended when they got the mountain back and beat the dragon and, having spoken to some friends, as children they thought the same.

There are many other books I read and loved as a child, but these are the ones that always stand out in my mind.

What are you favourite childhood books? Do you remember the book that first made you love reading?


  1. Tuppeny, Feefo And Jinks by Enid Blyton

    1. I almost addded that one in too, but thought it might make the post too long :).

    2. I've been looking for it, and found a copy for sale on Abe Books - I'm tempted.

      BTW - it was a trifle, not a cake in My Naughty Little Sister. :)

  2. I don't remember the first book that made me love reading. It seems like I've been reading for as long as I can remember. My first reading memory is reading the comics in the paper.

    My favorite authors were Judy Blume and Roald Dahl. Favorite books were Winnie the Pooh, Charlotte's Web and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

    Though, Faeries by Brian Froud and Alan Lee is the book that made me love faeries. It's more of an artbook, and I couldn't read a lot of the text because it was in a cursive script. But the pictures were oh so creepy, and I loved it.

    1. It's funny how many of us liked creepy stuff as children :). I remember this one story in an annual about a girl who saw heard something outside her window and she dared to look and saw a horrific face, after that she screamed even if it was just the window cleaner. It never said what the face looked like, but the story has stuck with me for over 30 years - now that's story telling :).

  3. I'm stopping by as I read through some of the blogs taking part in the A to Z Challenge and had to comment on this.

    I think The Hobbit was the book that helped me to really fall in love with reading. It was certainly the book that got me off the Easy Readers at school and onto free choice reading. I was six and I loved it, though it took me ten years before I could get past the first three chapters of The Lord of the Rings.

    Another favourite book as a child was A Little Princess. I used to pretend I was Sara Crewe (and would sprinkle talcum powder everywhere and then 'dust', which I'm sure my parents loved). I love to revisit old books from my childhood; it's interesting to see how your memories of them change.

    1. The death of Boromir scarred me for years when I tried to read LotR the first time :). Took me until I was in my twenties to go back and read the whole trilogy. I blame that and Empire Strikes Back for my need for happy endings :).

      Talcum powder - the most tenacious substance on earth - how often did the hoover have to come out? ;)

      I have a whole stack of books from my childhood - not as far back as most of the ones I mentioned in the post because unfortunately my mother threw most of them away when we moved when we were 11, but others. One thing I was struck by when I went back to read a remembered favourite was how dark and complex it was even though it was a small book.


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