Saturday, April 02, 2011

International Children's Book Day

And what better day to blog, after not having done so for too long.

The world of children's books changed for me in 2007 when I started writing them.

But I grew up in a family where books were important, was read to from a very early age, and found refuge in them in my years at boarding school.

Later I started working in libraries (Battersea Park Library, London, England in the late-60s, and later Port Coquitlam Library BC, Canada, then various branches of Surrey Libraries, I soon got involved in what was known as Children's Services.

Conducting storytimes. Writing and performing puppet plays. Helping children, parents and teachers select good books for research and recreational reading.

All the while - in the early years - taking home armfuls of books to share with Holly.

Now I have a baby grandson to share books with, and a step-grandson who bored his father by repeatedly asking for yet another reading of my first book MEETING MISS 405, and has my later books untouched as yet on his bookshelf.

I could not possibly count - or remember - the books I read as a child. But I do know I devoured anything and everything by Enid Blyton and Malcolm Saville, rejected WIND IN THE WILLOWS at nine 'because everyone knows animals don't talk or wear clothes', but at fifteen fell in love with it. I recall the story of a German immigrant family trying to adjust to life in an English city, but don't recall the book's title. Loved William Smith's LAUGHING TIME, of which I now have a replica copy, lovingly reproduced word for word and picture by picture by my father when the family copy fell apart.

I know I felt comforted, transported, amused, reassured, curious, distracted and safe as a child when I had my 'nose in a book'.

Regardless of all the academic and psychological reasons that children read, and the benefits they derive from a lifelong association with books, perhaps most of all I hope that enjoying books - alone, with a parent, teacher, librarian or brings them an awareness of the power of words. And that through words - and ideas - they will gain the power to imagine, dream, be transported, and perhaps use their own words to do the same for others.

1 comment:

Deniz Bevan said...

A great post! I'm always excited to read about others - especially children - falling in love with reading. Libraries are wonderful places.