Since writing my last blog post on the kids’ books we’re loving reading at the moment, I’ve been reminded just how totally special books are. While in Scotland at my parents’ house, I came across two boxes of books from my childhood (“I just couldn’t bring myself to throw them away,” my mum told me.) Mostly children’s books from the 1970s, there were stories by authors like Richard Scarry, Dr Seuss, Janet and Allan Ahlberg. I lost a good half hour looking through them.
It’s crazy how, aged 35, all I have to do it look at these old books and be instantly transported back to my childhood. I remembered the stories, I remembered how I felt at the time I read them, and a huge wave of emotion washed over me. Some of the images from these books feel so familiar to me, it’s as if I’ve looked at them every day for the last three decades.
I remember, as a child, being almost able to taste the porridge in this Goldilocks And The Three Bears story by Richard Scarry. The heat of one, the saltiness of another, the sweetness of the third. It’s so incredible that books can kickstart children’s imaginations like that. Another book I used to adore is A Big Ball Of String by Marion Holland. First published in 1958, my mum probably picked it up at a jumble sale…
Even seeing my name written in my mum’s handwriting on the first page of one book felt like a special memory.
As a parent, it’s so brilliant to pass on books and toys to our kids. My three-year-old has loved reading one book in particular, Richard Scarry’s Best Story Book Ever. This edition is from 1979 (when I wasn’t even one-year-old) but it still managed to totally engage her, as she helped feed Hilda Hippo with ABC food (Would you feed her an automobile or an apple? Would a bed be good to eat or a banana?)
I’m going to follow in my mum’s footsteps and buy more second hand kids’ books and I’m going to make sure I keep the real special ones, to look back at in 30 years time. Are there any special books you remember from your childhood?