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Books that made me

When I talk to adult groups such as the WI and U3A I always love hearing about the stories people loved as children. For a lot of the WI ladies that I speak to, the books they remember with clarity and warmth were illustrated books of fairy tales and Beatrix Potter. But I was a child of the 70s. The 1960s and 70s saw exciting developments in the world of picture books. In my (completely non-expert!) opinion, this is when children’s publishing began to think about picture books as a separate genre and there was an explosion of creative talent in terms of artwork and new developments in writing.

So I’ve been thinking about the books that made me. My reminiscing started with a visit from Anna McQuinn from Alanna Books. Anna brought a copy of Whistle For Willie by Jack Ezra Keats with her to Picture Book Club. I was immediately and vividly transported back to my childhood. I remembered every page, every illustration. As a child growing up in rural Essex and Norfolk I didn’t see many black children but I don’t think I thought about that at the time. This was just a lovely story about a dog, a sausage dog, which I desperately wanted but never got.

Whistle For Willie started me thinking about other books that I read as a child. Maybe some will strike a chord with you?

And then there are the books I can remember snippets of but cannot find. One began ‘Every night, after the sun went down Buzzy, Jane and Snapper…’ If anyone knows what that was called I’d be very grateful! And there was one with two competitive chameleons called Sam and Pete. That was pretty much a daily read!

I’d love to know what books you remember fondly from childhood and maybe which of the books of today you think will be featured in a blog like this in 40 years time?