World Book Day Celebration: the Books that Shaped my Childhood Years

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World Book Day is upon us! I love that we have a day dedicated to celebrating all things bookish. Books were a major part of my childhood, and along with other UKYA bloggers, I’m celebrating the most important books when I was younger.

We’re posting throughout the day, so do check out what the others loved! Jane (Books With Jane) has just posted her post and Lauren (Fiction Tea) will be after me. Their posts are well worth reading. To find all our posts and our conversations, just use the #UKYAWBD2020 hashtage on twitter.


Favourite Picture Book

Book cover for Handa's Surprise: girl carrying a basket of fruits on her headI had to text my mum to answer this one, as I don’t remember which picture books I loved unsurprisingly. I thought it might be I WROTE TO THE ZOO, as that’s the one in the picture albums, but apparently it’s HANDA’S SURPRISE, by Eileen Browne.

The author is also the illustrator, and the water colours are lovely. It’s about a girl who takes a basket of fruit to visit her friend, but animals pinch the fruits without her knowing as she walks here.

There is a picture somewhere of me dressed up as Handa for World Book Day when I was maybe three, but an extensive hunt hasn’t turned it up

Favourite Chapter Books

ruby the red fairyAs a child, I was obsessed with the Rainbow Magic books. They were only just starting to publish at the time, but I still probably read 50-odd over a few years. No doubt this had a major impact on my love for fantasy as the first books I eagerly looked for in libraries were girls having magic adventures with their best friends.

There is also a picture somewhere of four-year-old Sifa dressed up as Violet the purple fairy, alongside a friend who was Ruby the red fairy (how did we pick which fairy? Easy – what colour was our favourite dress!)

This series gets a lot of grief for being repetitive and simplistic, and my family and I are culpable too. However, these books got me reading and they’re not written for adults. We should celebrate the books that get children reading.

Favourite Middle Grade Books – Infants

five on a treasure islandMy bookish obsession in primary school was all things Enid Blyton. My dad and I worked out, aged 8 or 9 that I had read more of her books than the total number of books he had read in his adult life.

It was the mystery combined with daring adventure that sucked me. While I love the Famous Five for getting me into the books, The Five Find-Outers, the Mystery and the Secret series were my favourite. The boarding school adventures were fun to imagine myself in, but I was also very glad I went to a regular state day school!

My first attempts at story writing came from Famous Five. Were they repetitive rip offs? Yes. Five Find a Shipwreck (AGAIN), where the captain’s log is in a chest not a tin. No doubt I dressed up as George or Anne at some point, but no one can remember.

Favourite Middle Grade Books – Juniors

My transition from Infants to Juniors was a little messy. My best friend until moved north over the summer. Apart from one year, we’d lived around the corner since we were born six weeks apart. As such, we’d been inseparable, our mums taking turns to look after us in a double buggy.

However, someone else in my class had just lost her best friend too, and so we ended up together in lessons. And guess what? We both ADORED books. We were the ones breaking our book bags with books (usually water bottles did this). We bonded so quickly over our mutual love for all things bookish, and have remained that way ever since.

higher institute of villainous educationOur first joint love was Harry Potter (the last book having just come out, so no waiting for us!), but the defining one for our friendship was The Higher Institute of Villainous Education series (I’m still waiting on the last book!). We still call each other Shelby and Laura in birthday cards.

Our final year of World Book Day (because neither secondary school dressed up) involved scrounging charity shops for black clothes so we could have their jumpsuits – a costume that should have been easier than it turned out to be. We made old tissue boxes into the students’ computers, complete with interchangeable “screens” depending on whether we were talking to H.I.V.E.mind or hacking.


What were your favourite books as a child?

Pictures and names of all the bloggers taking part in the blog event

3 thoughts on “World Book Day Celebration: the Books that Shaped my Childhood Years

    1. …I may have read Handa’s Surprise this year. Nice and short, 13 pages, and a cheeky addition to my Goodreads Challenge! Playing havoc with my average pages stat, though

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