I woke up this morning with the image in my head of the cover of a book I read when I was a teenager : The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier. Having looked it up this morning to find the cover, it seems it’s now over 30 years old – having been released in 1974 and acclaimed as a text leading the way for a new genre – young adult literature. Goodness me. At the time it was just a book to me! A book about power, bullying and intimidation in a Catholic school in New England. Whatever made me remember it this morning is a mystery, but I’m glad I did! It also reminded me of some of the other books I enjoyed in my youth: The Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield, which I read several times over, and the Swallows and Amazons series that fired my imagination for several summers. Of course every girl in the school wanted to get their hands on a copy of Forever by Judy Blume, but the rest of her books were also fantastic reads.

On a recent trip back to the UK, I was listening to Jeremy Vine on BBC2 and happened to have tuned in on the day he was to announce Britain’s Best Bedtime Story. With two little people at home with me, I was really excited to hear what everyone else enjoyed reading. Our favourites at the moment are The Magic Paintbrush by Julia Donaldson and our compendium of fairy tales (the one that was read to me as a child). The list was impressive and incredibly hard to select one best story from:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet & Allan Ahlberg
Five On A Treasure Island by Enid Blyton
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe by C.S Lewis
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Winnie The Pooh by A.A Milne

What would you have chosen? If you didn’t know already, The Gruffalo was chosen. It IS a great story, isn’t it? Beautifully written.

What were your favourite books as a child? What do you read to your children? I’ll make no secret of my pride for #1 who recites Jabberwork and The Owl and the Pussycat, hearing him tell those wonderful monuments of our language makes me glow 🙂

Further reading: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/news/monster-success-the-gruffalo-is-best-bedtime-story-1816565.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/shows/jeremy-vine/bedtime-stories/

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