Five books that inspired me as a child

Jennifer

Faculty: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
School: School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Course: BA (Hons) Writing and English Literature
Category: Language, literature and media

2 March 2020

Thursday 5 March 2020 is World Book Day. To mark the occasion, Writing and English Literature student Jennifer blogs about the five books that most captured her imagination as a child.

Matilda, by Roald Dahl

"She was able to travel all over the world whilst sitting in her bedroom in a little English village."

Just being a character that loves to read is enough to get me interested. As a child it was all I did. Matilda's dad asks: "what d'you want a flaming book for?" This still makes me laugh out loud - as a child I would point it out to my friends during silent reading time to try and make them laugh as well.

A Series of Unfortunate Events (series), by Lemony Snicket

"Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them... wicked people never have time for reading."

So brilliantly bizarre and the fact that the twists of the huge plots of the later novels are never revealed (eg. What’s in the sugar bowl? Why is it so important?) still bother me as a 24-year-old. Even using the internet to discern the mystery, which I wasn’t able to do as a child, has sprung no revelations. These books made me feel capable of doing things waaaaay beyond my abilities just like the Baudelaire orphans, using purely what I’d read in books.

The Thief Lord, by Cornelia Funke

"Hornet really did have a lot of books... you could hardly see her mattress behind the stacks of books."

This book is so unique in its setting and imagination - children living in an abandoned cinema in Venice who discover an ancient merry-go-round with the power to rewind or fast forward a person’s age? Yes please to all of it! This just reinforced my belief that children are capable of anything and that I could be, too.

Charlotte's Web, by E. B. White

"In good time he was to discover that he was mistaken about Charlotte. Underneath her rather bold and cruel exterior, she had a kind heart, and she was to prove loyal and true to the very end."

Charlotte has literally no motive whatsoever for helping Wilbur the pig - she is simply kind. And because of her kindness she lives on long after her death. This book taught me a lot about kindness and why sometimes, you should help because it’s the right thing to do.

Double Act, by Jacqueline Wilson

"I try to have reasonably happy endings because I would hate any child to be cast down in gloom and despair; I want to show them you can find a way out of it."

I loved all of Jacqueline Wilson's books but this one was a firm favourite. I think what I liked about it was the fact the twins take the matter of wanting to be actors into their own hands - such agency really spoke to a 10-year-old who also wanted to be an actress!

Jennifer studies Writing and Literature at ARU. Find out more at one of our Open Days.

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