Monday 14 August 2017

Sharing my favourite childhood books with the children

I loved reading as a child. I always had a book on the go, and I read my favourites over and over again. Harry is 8, and at his age, and younger, I devoured Enid Blyton books in particular. I think my favourite series was the Adventure Series - The Island of Adventure, The Castle of Adventure and so on. I also really loved The Secret Island, about a group of children that run away from their unkind aunt and uncle and set themselves up living self-sufficiently on a remote island, complete with chickens and a cow. I read the Famous Five books over and over, and I also have fond memories of the books about Mr Galliano's Circus. I didn't mind that many of the stories had similar elements, and that although the names were different the children didn't change much. Perhaps it made them a comforting and easy read before I moved on to more challenging books.

To my dismay, Harry hasn't shown the same interest in Enid Blyton. I read the The Magic Faraway Tree series to him a couple of years ago and he's since read them to himself, as well as The Wishing-Chair Collection, so they were a hit. He recently enjoyed a few of the Secret Seven books but he didn't get on with the Famous Five. I'm hoping that I can either rekindle his interest, or that perhaps Mia will want to read them when she's able to read more confidently!

I recently interested Harry in Five Children and It by E. Nesbit and I'm hoping that he'll go on to enjoy some of her other books. I've also got a long list of other books that I remember enjoying as a child, and although some of them might appeal more to Mia in a few years I'm looking forward to seeing what they think. Fortunately these days, even though many are now out of print, they are often available digitally, sometimes very cheaply or even for free.

I kept lots of my own old books specifically for my children to read (from well before children were on the way!) and I have a collection of old hardbacks that were my Dad's. I've also kept an eye out for them in charity shops over the years. I don't keep that many books on my own fiction bookshelf, but the childhood books are harder to part with.

Vintage children's books on the shelf

I also have quite a collection of old Ladybird books, some of my own originals but mainly ones that I've collected over the last few years. Harry will be learning about the Stone Age next term at school so I pulled out my Ladybird Stone Age Man in Britain and he lapped it up. I find that the non-fiction Ladybird books are brilliantly written for young children, explaining all the facts in a really easy to access way. The books in the Easy to Read series were also excellent when the children were still learning to read, they made a good alternative to the school books that they were bringing home when they wanted something a bit different.

Of course there are also lots of fab new books for children that weren't around when I was younger. The Harry Potter books and the His Dark Materials Trilogy are both sets of books that I bought and read when I was in my twenties, and that Harry has enjoyed reading recently. I've also seen some re-imagined versions of childhood classics for sale. For example the other day I spotted Katy by Jacqueline Wilson in the shops which seems to be a modern version of What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge. I loved that series of books when I was little, and although I'm not sure I like the idea of rewriting a beloved story, I am very tempted to check it out!

Child reading in bed

I'd love to know which books you enjoyed when you were younger that you've shared with your own children!

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1 comment:

  1. I loved Malcolm Saville 'Lone Pine' series as a child and 'The Chalet School Books' and the 'Sue Barton' plus many more and several Enid Blyton series. My eldest son happily listened in the bath to many story books read to him from all genres, but sadly he is no reader.

    My younger son is an avid reader but although he has read the Arthur Ransome's, Malcolm Saville's, Enid Blyton's he much prefers today's books for teenagers.


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