To celebrate the Worldwide Young Readers Day today I thought I’d take a look at a few titles that meant so much to me when I was growing up, titles that still hold a special place in my heart and maybe, just maybe, you’ll recognise some of these titles or want to investigate them further – for whatever reason!
Although this doesn’t classify as a regular book I always remember, once a year around Christmas, getting a Rupert the Bear annual from my parents. I hadn’t really thought much about the bear until this weekend when I came across the 50th annual on one of the bookshelves. Upon perusing the web I’ve discovered that they are still publishing the annuals, well Egmont Publishing are. Celebrating its 80th edition this year Rupert is going strong and it shows no signs of stopping.
The annual, a mixture of wonderful short stories and colourful images, they brightened up my childhood and I remember many a night falling to sleep while my father read them to me. It was a magical time and now looking back on those early days I remember the time I spent with my father priceless. Even at that young age I distinctly remember the look on his face when he read the stories to me, something I’ll never forget. The sneaky grin as the storyteller knew what was coming next and my look of utter bewilderment when a story ended in dramatic fashion. Memories are priceless, the stories and character fortunately live on in glorious print. If dad was here today, I’d sit him down and read to him and I’m sure we’d both get a kick out of that!
Rupert The Bear wasn’t the only bedtime book I remember growing up, there were countless adventures from Enid Blyton’s The Secret Seven, in fact fifteen adventures, all written long before I was a kid but again something my parents introduced me to. Following Peter and Janet, the brother and sister combination, and their friends all trying to solve the most impossible of crimes. Probably why I love crime thrillers to this day!
Aside from the aforementioned books one book that I remember reading by torchlight and under the covers, long after my parents told me the light must go out, school tomorrow, was The Hobbit written in 1937 by J.R.R. Tolkien. The story follows the quest of hobbit Bilbo Baggins who attempts to win a share of treasure guarded by Smaug, a dragon. As Bilbo travels he gains a maturity and new level of wisdom, encountering numerous creatures along the way to emerge at the end of the book in conflict.
A truly sensational read, The Hobbit is one of my most read books as a young child. Having never read Lord of the Rings, I’m pleased to say that Tolkien’s The Hobbit left an indelible mark on my childhood. I really should make the time to read the book again and not rely on the Hobbit trilogy released recently on film!
Apart from Tolkien, two Scottish authors played a big part in my school years, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, born in Edinburgh in 1959 and Robert Louis Stevenson also born in Edinburgh in 9 years earlier in 1850. Conan Doyle will forever be associated with Sherlock Holmes and as a kid I never tired of reading the adventures of London’s famous detective both in the day and at night in bed. I won’t go into any detail about Sherlock’s adventures as they’ve been covered time and time again by so many people over the years.
Stevenson’s novels, two of them to be precise, stand out for me namely Treasure Island , and the amazing Kidnapped which follows David Balfour’s pursuit of his inheritance in Scotland. A wonderful book and another of those childhood memories I really should revisit now I’m a lot older and daresay wiser! I should also mention Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe a book which also spawned an epic black and white television series that I’ll always associate with my childhood along with The amazing adventures of Zorro!
I could go on and list many more titles that hold so many memories for me as a young child and teenager but if I did, this article would serve to send the reader to sleep, just as the greats of the past did to me – but in a good way!
Happy Young Readers Day everyone, and along with sleep start up Casper, this is one day that should be promoted and remembered by both young and old.