I’ve been a reader for as long as I can remember. Books brought me so much comfort and joy. Plus, I was an avid re-reader. I would finish a book, then almost immediately start it again. Nowadays I very rarely re-read any books, I’m always thinking of the next one. But back then, I couldn’t wait to be immersed in these worlds that were so different from mine. I thought it would be fun to share some of my favourite childhood books because, well, they’re special, aren’t they?
Or to quote Kathleen Kelly from You’ve Got Mail (please tell me someone loves this film as much as me) who says it better than I can: “When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.”
Couldn’t agree more – on with the list.
I’ve probably mentioned this 100 times already on here or Instagram or to you in person given half the chance. Anne of Green Gables is one of the first books that I remember truly falling in love with. It showed me the power of reading as escapism and comfort. I felt like I was Anne’s best friend (or “kindred spirit”) as she grew up and got into scrapes. I loved her fiery temper, her imagination and the simple life of Green Gables. I can’t put into words what that book means to me really, it’ll always be my favourite.
I had a bumper book of all three Faraway Tree Stories books in one so it was hefty. Made me feel like a grown-up reading big books! More than that though I just loved the idea of different lands swirling above the Faraway Tree and all the adventure and possibility. I’ve always been drawn to anything magical yet Enid Blyton’s writing is so quintessentially English, it felt safe and warm too. I also wanted to live in a tree with a slide to my front door. Still kinda do.
Beloved by so many and rightly so. Being a little girl who loved to read, was there anything better than reading about a little girl who also loved to read? I could have included any of Roald Dahl’s books here really, but I think it’s Matilda that I have the softest spot for. A story all about the magic of reading and of good overcoming evil, it’s simply a perfect book. Also, I can’t tell you how long I spent staring at pencils trying to move them with my eyes.
This is from when I was a bit older. I’m not sure when I read it, but I remember taking this book on holiday with me and devouring it. If you’re not familiar with the story, it’s about a young Amazon woman named Myrina. She becomes one of the warrior priestesses known as the Moon Riders as they get drawn into the siege of Troy. I was obsessed with these women and how they were strong and fierce fighters, yet also magical and caring. Perhaps in hindsight one of the formative books for my strong belief in the power of women and female friendships.
So, when I left junior school (11 ish?) we were all given a book. I was actually given Sorceress, the follow up to Witch Child, so my mum must have got me this so I could read them in order. (My teacher gave it to me because the author’s surname is Rees, same as mine, which was also, incidentally, his too. It was a whole Rees thing.) ANYWAY, I loved this book. It tells the story of Mary, who travels to America alone after her grandmother is hanged for witchcraft. Yet in the New World, old superstitions and prejudice remain. I was engrossed by the idea of witches and also it’s a coming of age story which I was ripe for. Romance and magic? Yes, please!
These books and so many more are etched into my memories. (Loads more. LOADS. I had to cap it at 5 or this would be a dissertation.) It’s a huge part of what makes me who I am. What’s even better is that those books are like friends that I can call on at any time. They are like a comfort blanket and a cup of tea all wrapped into one.
I’d love to know what your favourite childhood books are? Do we share any of the same? Let me know in the comments!