Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.
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What was your favourite young reader novel growing up?
Being a child of the 1950s, I learnt to read in a very different place from the world we live in now. Because of where my birthday fell, I was only four years and one month old when I started school, so I learned to read properly at an early age.
I found that I loved reading. I grew up in Devon, in a small village between moor and sea. It was a beautiful place to live, even so, I loved the way books took me to other worlds and allowed me to visualise them in my own way.
My first memory of reading anything more complicated than Janet and John (look them up) are of devouring Enid Blyton’s Famous Five adventures and The Chronicles of Narnia. It’s a long time ago but I can only have been about five or six years old at the time.
As I got older and better at reading, I progressed to H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and H. Rider Haggard. I used to get as many books from the library as I was allowed and read them by torchlight. I’m sure that my parents knew, they just pretended otherwise, because strangely, my torch never ran out of batteries!
There was a common theme in the types of books I read, they were all adventures; with secrets, treasure, heroes and villains. Together with my friends, they formed the basis of our games at school, and when we went exploring in the countryside at the weekends, we made up our own versions of them. We spent our time hiding from and spying on the bad guys, finding treasure and foiling all manner of dastardly plots.
I dare say that today, the way I was taught to read (by recognising whole words) would be seen as the wrong way to learn. Not only that, recently, the choice of reading material and authors that I was given has come to be viewed as unsuitable, if not downright offensive, in some quarters.
I can’t comment on that, I just enjoyed the stories and saw no deeper meaning than that conveyed by the words. At the time, they were not thought of as anything out of the ordinary and they awoke something in me, a desire to travel, for adventure and a life out of the ordinary, like most of the characters experienced.
Looking back at what I did with my life, I can see that they succeeded in that. It’s also likely that the ideas in them influenced my writing, even though it wasn’t to emerge for many years.
I like to think that I’ve paid their influence forward, in the way that my stories try to capture and encourage the same dreams and aspirations that were given to me.
Until next week.
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