What were the first books you remember reading when you were growing up? For me, back in the ’60s, I looked forward to going to the library every week to choose new books. I really loved the stories of Milly-Molly-Mandy, a sweet little girl in a striped dress, and her friends and family, which were first published back in the ’20s.
I also liked the Little Grey Rabbit series by Alison Uttley, about a little bunny in the countryside and all her friends – and again, first published in the ’20s. What an old-fashioned child I was. When I got to school, I fell for Harry, the dog who didn’t want to wear a coat with roses on it, and Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day and Whistle For Willie about a sweet American boy called Peter, which were modern and pretty groovy.
I didn’t come from a home that was full of books, but being taken to the library and the excitement of being able to choose books to take home – and to take you to different worlds – built a love of reading in me that’s been incredibly enriching and enjoyable.
The love of books is the reason why the Croydon Literary Festival happens – we love books and want to share that love with you. And we know that by starting children off with a passion for reading can lead to a lifetime’s love affair with books and ideas that can open up the world. It’s why we have a brilliant programme of children and family sessions in this year’s festival on 27th October at the Clocktower Arts Centre and Central Library.
We hope to see you at there – in the meantime, tell us what were your favourite childhood reads, and if you’re sharing them with your kids. Or do they have their own favourites now?
Clair Woodward, Programme Director, CLF