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I’m a former national newspaper journalist and budding children’s writer. I spent much of my formative years with my head stuck in a book. Here are the ones I remember best…

tHE LAND OF GREEN GINGER BY NOEL LANGLEY: Aged ten, I found this in the school library. I immediately fell madly in love. Camp, clever and sidesplittingly funny, it's one of my all-time favourites. The narrator's asides are genius. If you don't like it, I am literally not talking to you, like, EVER.

HE LAND OF GREEN GINGER BY NOEL LANGLEY: Aged ten, I found this in the school library. I immediately fell madly in love. Camp, clever and sidesplittingly funny, it's one of my all-time favourites. The narrator's asides are genius. If you don't like it, I am literally not talking to you, like, EVER.

THE LAND OF GREEN GINGER BY NOEL LANGLEY: Aged ten, I found this in the school library. I immediately fell madly in love. Camp, clever and sidesplittingly funny, it's one of my all-time favourites. The narrator's asides are genius. If you don't like it, I am literally not talking to you, like, EVER.

THE MAGIC FARAWAY TREE BY ENID BLYTON: In the cul de sac I grew up in, there was a summer when we played endless games about the Faraway Tree, in a huge tree in a neighbour's garden. I was always Silkie the fairy, which I was well chuffed about - until I realised it was a way of keeping me, as one of the littler kids, from climbing to the upper branches (Silkie lives near the bottom of the Faraway Tree). When I picked this book up 30 years later to read to my daughter, I was full of expectation. Sadly, Blyton's writing hasn't aged well - and the gender stereotyping is toe-curling - but there is forever a place in my heart for Dick, Fanny, Moonface, Saucepan Man et al.

THE MAGIC FARAWAY TREE BY ENID BLYTON: In the cul de sac I grew up in, there was a summer when we played endless games about the Faraway Tree, in a huge tree in a neighbour's garden. I was always Silkie the fairy, which I was well chuffed about - until I realised it was a way of keeping me, as one of the littler kids, from climbing to the upper branches (Silkie lives near the bottom of the Faraway Tree). When I picked this book up 30 years later to read to my daughter, I was full of expectation. Sadly, Blyton's writing hasn't aged well - and the gender stereotyping is toe-curling - but there is forever a place in my heart for Dick, Fanny, Moonface, Saucepan Man et al.

THE MAGIC FARAWAY TREE BY ENID BLYTON: In the cul de sac I grew up in, there was a summer when we played endless games about the Faraway Tree, in a huge tree in a neighbour's garden. I was always Silkie the fairy, which I was well chuffed about - until I realised it was a way of keeping me, as one of the littler kids, from climbing to the upper branches (Silkie lives near the bottom of the Faraway Tree). When I picked this book up 30 years later to read to my daughter, I was full of expectation. Sadly, Blyton's writing hasn't aged well - and the gender stereotyping is toe-curling - but there is forever a place in my heart for Dick, Fanny, Moonface, Saucepan Man et al.

THE NARNIA CHRONICLES BY CS LEWIS: Ok, so everyone my generation loved this series. But not everyone finished The Last Battle and immediately wanted to get a T-shirt printed with 'ASLAN' across the front because she loved him soooo much. I was not a cool kid.

THE NARNIA CHRONICLES BY CS LEWIS: Ok, so everyone my generation loved this series. But not everyone finished The Last Battle and immediately wanted to get a T-shirt printed with 'ASLAN' across the front because she loved him soooo much. I was not a cool kid.

THE NARNIA CHRONICLES BY CS LEWIS: Ok, so everyone my generation loved this series. But not everyone finished The Last Battle and immediately wanted to get a T-shirt printed with 'ASLAN' across the front because she loved him soooo much. I was not a cool kid.

THE ENCHANTED CASTLE BY E.NESBIT: I read pretty much everything E. Nesbit wrote, but this was my favourite. The best scene is when two of the main characters, Cathy and Mabel, become living statues and hang out with a load of Greek gods. I was also fascinated by the Ugly-Wuglies, a bunch of clothes and accessories magicked into people. I had to read about them through my fingers though. They're just so sinister.

THE ENCHANTED CASTLE BY E.NESBIT: I read pretty much everything E. Nesbit wrote, but this was my favourite. The best scene is when two of the main characters, Cathy and Mabel, become living statues and hang out with a load of Greek gods. I was also fascinated by the Ugly-Wuglies, a bunch of clothes and accessories magicked into people. I had to read about them through my fingers though. They're just so sinister.

THE ENCHANTED CASTLE BY E.NESBIT: I read pretty much everything E. Nesbit wrote, but this was my favourite. The best scene is when two of the main characters, Cathy and Mabel, become living statues and hang out with a load of Greek gods. I was also fascinated by the Ugly-Wuglies, a bunch of clothes and accessories magicked into people. I had to read about them through my fingers though. They're just so sinister.

THE WEIRDSTONE OF BRISINGAMEN BY ALAN GARNER: A teacher* read this dark fantasy to my class in primary seven (year six in England). Although its protagonists go under the somewhat-less-than-illustrious monikers of 'Colin' and 'Susan', it's packed full of eerie creatures, evil magic and nail-gnawing tension.

(*Belated thank you, Mrs. Smith!)

THE WEIRDSTONE OF BRISINGAMEN BY ALAN GARNER: A teacher* read this dark fantasy to my class in primary seven (year six in England). Although its protagonists go under the somewhat-less-than-illustrious monikers of 'Colin' and 'Susan', it's packed full of eerie creatures, evil magic and nail-gnawing tension.

(*Belated thank you, Mrs. Smith!)

THE WEIRDSTONE OF BRISINGAMEN BY ALAN GARNER: A teacher* read this dark fantasy to my class in primary seven (year six in England). Although its protagonists go under the somewhat-less-than-illustrious monikers of 'Colin' and 'Susan', it's packed full of eerie creatures, evil magic and nail-gnawing tension.

(*Belated thank you, Mrs. Smith!)

HELP ! I'M A PRISONER IN A TOOTHPASTE FACTORY BY JOHN ALTROBUS: Structurally, this novel is to the three act structure what Finnegan's Wake is to lucidity. It's bonkers. It stayed with me though. I still sometimes check my toothpaste for secret messages.

HELP ! I'M A PRISONER IN A TOOTHPASTE FACTORY BY JOHN ALTROBUS: Structurally, this novel is to the three act structure what Finnegan's Wake is to lucidity. It's bonkers. It stayed with me though. I still sometimes check my toothpaste for secret messages.

HELP ! I'M A PRISONER IN A TOOTHPASTE FACTORY BY JOHN ALTROBUS: Structurally, this novel is to the three act structure what Finnegan's Wake is to lucidity. It's bonkers. It stayed with me though. I still sometimes check my toothpaste for secret messages.

PIPPI LONGSTOCKING BY ASTRID LINDGREN: What's not to love about a girl who can lift a horse and whose best friend is a monkey? Pippi, the most independent nine-year-old ever, always shows up the sheer silliness of the adult world's social constructs. I dreamt of being brave and outspoken like her (while dutifully doing what I was told).

PIPPI LONGSTOCKING BY ASTRID LINDGREN: What's not to love about a girl who can lift a horse and whose best friend is a monkey? Pippi, the most independent nine-year-old ever, always shows up the sheer silliness of the adult world's social constructs. I dreamt of being brave and outspoken like her (while dutifully doing what I was told).

PIPPI LONGSTOCKING BY ASTRID LINDGREN: What's not to love about a girl who can lift a horse and whose best friend is a monkey? Pippi, the most independent nine-year-old ever, always shows up the sheer silliness of the adult world's social constructs. I dreamt of being brave and outspoken like her (while dutifully doing what I was told).

DID I EVER TELL YOU HOW LUCKY YOU ARE? BY DR. SEUSS: The illustrations in this book really fired my imagination. I remember poring over their details, especially the one of the traffic jam in Ga-Zayt, with queues of camel, elephant and weird ostrich-like birds stuck at a crossroads. But it's the linguistic effervescense that really makes it - with 'borfins' going 'shlump' and tales of 'Hawtch-Hawtcher bee watchers'.

DID I EVER TELL YOU HOW LUCKY YOU ARE? BY DR. SEUSS: The illustrations in this book really fired my imagination. I remember poring over their details, especially the one of the traffic jam in Ga-Zayt, with queues of camel, elephant and weird ostrich-like birds stuck at a crossroads. But it's the linguistic effervescense that really makes it - with 'borfins' going 'shlump' and tales of 'Hawtch-Hawtcher bee watchers'.

DID I EVER TELL YOU HOW LUCKY YOU ARE? BY DR. SEUSS: The illustrations in this book really fired my imagination. I remember poring over their details, especially the one of the traffic jam in Ga-Zayt, with queues of camel, elephant and weird ostrich-like birds stuck at a crossroads. But it's the linguistic effervescense that really makes it - with 'borfins' going 'shlump' and tales of 'Hawtch-Hawtcher bee watchers'.

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