Thursday, 12 July 2012

Guest Post: Sophie King talks about 3 of her favourite childhood books

The first guest post has been written by bestselling author Sophie King who has published 5 books including The School Run.   Sophie has recently published Tales from the Heart, an e-book collection of some of her short stories that have been published in magazines such as Woman's Weekly and My Weekly. 

I'll hand you over now to Sophie who tells us why she has chosen the books below as her 3 favourite childhood books.

I couldn't have got through my childhood without reading! Books were my refuge - especially when my little sister came along! I would read anywhere. Up the apple tree (the only tree in our Harrow garden).  At the kitchen table. In bed. I was a bit of a sickly child so I spent quite a lot of time in bed but I loved it because it gave me more time to read! It's very hard to pin down just three books but these are the ones which come instantly to mind.

THE CHILDREN FROM ONE END STREET by Eve Garnett. I still remember the pink cover and the drawings of the children on the front. I loved this because there were so many different characters. They all lived lives that were so unlike my own but that was part of the fun of fiction - and still should be.

WE DIDN'T MEAN TO GO TO SEA BY Arthur Ransome. My wonderful Godmother, Peggy, always gave me an Arthur Ransome book for my birthday. I knew nothing about the sea (thanks to my Harrow roots) but then Peggy bought a cottage in
the Isle of Wight and we spent every glorious summer there until I was nineteen when she died tragically.  The Arthur Ransome books always struck me as being so exciting! Here were children who were allowed to do all kinds of dangerous things like go on a boat! How I wanted to have their courage - and their freedom.  I also loved the pen and ink drawings. Years later, I got married (for the second time) in the Lake District and as soon as I saw the lake at Ullswater, I knew I had found Arthur Ransome land. It was like coming home. I now live by the sea in Devon, partly because of AR's books.

WHITE BOOTS by Noel Streatfeild.  Again, I wanted to be just like the girls in the book! How wonderful to skate - and to be praised for it. I don't think I had much self-esteem as a child so I loved reading stories about girls who defied the odds and went on to do great things.  I particularly identified with one of the heroines who chose to free skate rather than
follow a fixed skating routine.  Deep down, I'm a free skater at heart myself.

I still have shelves of children's books in my home.  They are very precious and comforting to me.

Sophie King is the pen-name of journalist Jane Bidder who has also written books under the pen-name Janey Fraser. You can find out more about Sophie and her books on her websites: Sophie King and Janey Fraser.

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