I have been an avid bookworm from an early age. My mum was an English teacher so I grew up surrounded by books and a passion for literature. Our local library was a main feature in favourite my places to visit, and as a child and I’d always have 5-6 books on the go.
All time favourites:
As well as books, I was obsessed with dogs as a little girl, so Dogger was an ultimate favourite. The story is timeless, a love story between a child and his favourite toy and what happens when they become separated. Shirley Hughes illustrations are just enchanting and I get as much enjoyment reading this book now with my own children as I did when my mum read it to me 30 years ago.
Matilda by Roald Dahl – clearly I thought I was Matilda!
We were both bookworms, both cleverer than our teachers, both had secret powers… Roald Dahl is the ultimate champion of the underdog and I love that he was pushing the girl power message so many years ago. I can’t wait to read it with my girls.
Nowadays I am a one book at a time kind of reader. I still devour them, but since having children my brainpower can only handle one storyline at once (I need to conserve my energy for their books – The Day The Crayons Quit is quite the plot…)
Beautifully written and whole-heartedly engaging, Tiger Hills is my idea of a perfect book.
The story follows a tragic love triangle between Devi, Devanna, and Machaiah in an epic adventure set in Coorg, Southern India, spanning 3 generations. The narrative is bursting with Indian culture and history, so detailed at points I felt I was seeing and smelling the fields and hills of India that Mandanna writes so elegantly about.
Heart-breaking and inspiring in equal measure, I literally could not put Tiger Hills down.
So I do know these books are marketed towards “young adults” but at mid-thirties I still consider myself a spring chicken and therefore felt them age appropriate!
Completely different to my usual choice of fiction, these books are fantasy peppered with concepts from physics, philosophy and theology. Think parallel universes, witches, a balloon borne aeronaut, armour clad polar bears and evil scientists.
One of the lead heroines also inspired my first daughter’s name, Seraphina.
What I love reading to my children:
I am delighted my two daughters have followed in my footsteps with their love of books. My girls are 3 and 5 now, and I can already see their personalities shining through the books they choose. At the moment they fall between two camps – firstly we have laugh out loud funny (and I mean rolling around their beds in tears laughing, especially if anything toilet related is mentioned).
The Day The Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers is a firm favourite. No mentions of poo here, but it is laugh out loud funny, cleverly written with the humour working its magic for adults and children in equal measure.
My kids find it hilarious when I’m laughing along at their books; not yet realising the nuances and different levels of humour, they love that mummy is in silly mode with them.
In the other camp, my daughters love books that spark their imaginations and require audience participation. Just Imagine and You Choose by Pippa Goodhart and Nick Sharratt are brilliant. Each page is colourfully crammed with different illustrations and questions – from where would you sleep if you where as tiny as a mouse, to what super power you’d choose and why, to what your dream house would look like (a princess castle on Mars with a water slide for us, obvs). The pages spark endless discussions, wild imaginations and often some very interesting dreams…Sleep well and dream big little dreamers.