Just wanted to quickly put some words down about yesterdays outpouring of love for children’s books. I am not a great writer so if bits come across as a bit clichéd or hackneyed, sorry.
This wasn’t a list, this wasn’t a set of texts you’re told you must read. It was people just saying this is a book I love, nothing more nothing less, just I love this book! It felt entirely personal, each persons entry was about them. I didn’t expect that and to be fair that is what for me made it quite moving.
What I hadn’t really thought about when I posted the first tweet, was that my books had stories. Some of the books I chose weren’t just books, they were people, places and times. That didn’t really hit me till @SFsaid posted this,
My Dad wasn’t/ isn’t a reader I have shared two books (well 7 because the 2nd one is 6 books) in common with him my entire life. Watership down and bizarrely the entire ‘Chronicles of Thomas Covenent’ by Stephen Donaldson. I read both because he had read them. Watership down was and still is the only time I’ve talked to my Dad about books. Therefore it’s important to me.
The next was when someone chose this…
I will be forever indebted to Andy Stanton. I love this book it’s fab and funny, but I mainly love it because it was the book that stopped reading being a battle, it was the book where, my now 16 year old son, genuinely fell in love with reading. It was laughter, joy and moments that I will forever cherish.
I went back to look at my own choices and everyone in someway was a memory. So for me yesterday was about memories. I didn’t really think explicitly about books in that way till yesterday. Not in the same way I do with music anyway, I will never be able to listen to ‘Last Goodbye’ by Jeff Buckley without inwardly cringing at it, after singing it at my now wife after an argument. But looking at many of the special books to me, they are special because they are more than the book. ‘Animal farm’ is Mr Williams class in year 4, crying when Boxer was taken away and hating Gary Mountjoy for laughing. ‘Weirdstone of Brisingamen’ is reading by torchlight at my Nan and Grandads. ‘Trainspotting’ is midge bitten in a tent in Glenelg, the first holiday with my wife. ‘Notes from a small Island’ is touring Canada for 6 weeks. ‘Counting Sheep’ is both my boys.
Think what I found out is that books are important. We need to help children find their books, their memories. This set of books should be wildly different in 20 or 30 years time, if it isn’t I really think we may have done something wrong. as @nickswarb tweeted
‘Much prefer #favechildrenslit to imposing a canon of “must reads.”‘
Don’t just read a book, create some memories.