On Friday 23 April 2021 it is World Book Day! Officially named World Book and Copyright Day by UNESCO, it is a great opportunity to celebrate the importance of reading.
Do you recall your childhood classics!? Our Mamas have listed some great books, that their children are still reading. Perhaps you find some inspiration to dust off your own collection and share your books with the kids!?
One of my favourite books growing up was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. I remember reading this when I was young and my imagination would go wild, imagining the mysterious chocolate factory and all the amazing things going on behind those gates. It had such a great story line and the characters (especially Willy Wonka) were so lively described, you felt like you knew them. I read this book countless times growing up and still found it extremely fascinating each time.
Other books I fancied reading when I was younger was the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine. The books were about children who find themselves in scary situations, usually involving monsters and other supernatural elements, but with a tinge of humour to it too. The books were frightening yet enthralling at the same time, I could never get enough of it! Everytime I read it, it felt like an escape from the real world.
Judy Blume was one of my favourite authors growing up. From the Fudge series, to Are you there God?, It’s me Margaret, to Blubber, to Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, her books spoke to me. The best thing is, I introduced Fudge to my son and he devoured the entire series again and again. He simply loves Fudge and the adventures he gets into.
I was also a fan of the Adrian Mole series by Sue Townsend. What struggles for an ‘intellectual’ – ha!
When I was older, my absolute favourite was To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It was a book I had to read as part of English Literature in school. I never thought I’d take to it, as it was part of a lesson. But take to it I did and the way it dealt with racism, the just and unjust really hit a nerve with me. To read how Atticus Finch stood his ground even when it was an unpopular one, was an eye opener. Of course the book was told from Scout’s perspective and how what was happening around her shaped who she became. My son has asked to read To Kill a Mockingbird and I’ve put it on hold for now but only because I have to dig it out of storage!
“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do” – Atticus Finch
When I was 13 or 14, I fell madly in love with Anne Rice and her novel Interview with a Vampire. This quickly followed with a passion for all things Rice. The Vampire Lestât, Tale of the Body Thief, Queen of the Damned, The Mummy, The Witching Hour. I lost hours and days in her pages. A perfect escape for a teen.
But it seemed I had a thing for dark writers. I was also into Stephen King (The Mist was one of them), though he often gave me nightmares. And I really enjoyed James Herberts’ Rats. On a lighter note, I fell in love with the country antics of the vet James Herriot. His antics with the animals was hilarious including helping a calf get born.
I fell in love for books at the age of ten, and the book that turned me into an avid reader was The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. I remember it vividly and I just couldn’t put it down. My love for adventures didn’t stop there. Other of my favourite books were The Count of Mont Cristo, also by Alexandre Dumas and Julio Verne’s books, especially Around the World in Eighty Days.
My best loved author when I was a child, without a shadow of a doubt, was Roald Dahl. I devoured everything he wrote. However, if I was forced to pick just one or two of his books to recommend, it would have to be Matilda and George’s Marvellous Medicine.
But these days I enjoy sharing David Walliams books with my children. He is often referred to as the modern day Roald Dahl. His humour is unashamedly British and childish. His World’s Worst series is perfect for those with big imaginations and short attention spans.
My go-to book as a teen was Anne of Green Gables written by L.M. Montgomery. It was during the 90s that this book became a hit, when it was made into a TV show. It tells about a girl named Anne Shirley (Anne with an ‘e’), an eleven-year old orphan who had arrived at Green Gables to be adopted by the Cuthberts – elderly Matthew and his stern sister, Marilla. The twist though was the family wanted to adopt a boy, not a feisty red-headed girl. But before they can send her back, she completely wins them over with her scope and imagination. This book which was about the dreams of a child growing up, was truly a great book to have during my growing years as it was so family oriented and so relatable. Truly a book that I will be sharing with my kids too, soon.
Being a teacher, choosing my favourite book from my childhood is almost an impossible task – there are so many! Here are two classics, that were not only firm favourites on my bookshelf, but my own children’s now too.
The Jolly Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. This tells the tale of a postman as he delivers his letters to well-known fairy tale characters. The three bears get a letter from Goldilocks and the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk gets a postcard. I used to love taking out the letters and reading them.
Esio Trot by Roald Dahl. I used to devour anything by Roald Dahl as a kid and loved his quirky tales. This one is a great introduction to his writing and perhaps not as well-known as some of his other works such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It’s a charming little tale and fairly short, so easy for reluctant readers.
I could disappear for hours or sometimes days in the books of the Lord of the Rings series by JRR Tolkien. Mesmerised and enchanted by the magical world of the hobbits, I felt brave enough to read as well about the dark creatures that lived in Middle-earth.
Pippi Longstocking from Astrid Lundgren is a book that I read to my own children just a few years ago. Who doesn’t love the adventures of this super strong, funny and hilarious red-haired girl and her friends?!
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell is another classic that I loved to read and now my daughter does as well. Did you know it was written almost 150 years ago in 1877? With fifty million copies sold, Black Beauty is one of the best-selling books of all time. The book is about animal welfare and how to treat horses, but it is also about how to treat people with kindness and with respect.
“..there is no religion without love, and people may talk as much as they like about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind to man and beast, it is all a sham…” - Black Beauty, Chapter 13, last paragraph.
Encourage your children to read as much as they can. There are some great bookstores for children in KL. Where? Read our article about kid-friendly bookstores here. If you rather would look at free online bookstores to get them into reading, have a look at our article here. Happy reading!