Our favourite books

Will Caston Cook, 5th March 2020

We thought we'd celebrate World Book Day by asking our staff to reflect on their favourite children's book. We share our favourites below:

Each Peach Pear Plum.

One of my first school teachers would often read this to the class when we first started at the school, as time went on kids would choose other books for her to read to us but when it was my turn, I would always choose this one. I loved the suspense and flow of it even though I knew it word for word off by heart. When she left I was devastated but she gave me this book and signed her name in it - I still have it now! And although I've not read it for years I'm pretty sure I could still recite it from memory.

- Lucie Allen, Migrations and on-boarding

Ghosts

Looking for a birthday present for my niece, I started to leaf through Raina Telgemeier's 'Ghosts' and found myself reading the whole book.

Ghosts tells the story of Catrina, who has to move to a coastal town for the sake of her younger sister, who has cystic fibrosis. Catrina has all the usual struggles with settling in to a new town and dealing with a younger sibling but the complication of her sister's illness makes it hard for her to express them.

She ends up making a friend who invites her to the town's Dia de los Muertos party. Catrina's only connection to her own Mexican heritage are a handful of family recipes, but during the course of the celebration she finds a better understanding for her culture and her sister's experience.

Ghosts is a very accessible story about family heritage, illness and loss that showcases Telgemeier's skill for depicting childhood frankly and without condescension. I'd especially recommend it for any child 8+ who is currently dealing with those subjects - not to mention any adults that want to steal a read of it first!

- Josh Butler, Support and training

George's Marvellous Medicine

I have so many favourite children’s books, but one that always stands out is George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dhal. I have really fond memories of my Grandad, Pops, reading this to me and my brother, when we were younger. Well, I say reading – what I remember most is that he used to start reading and then have to stop as he descended into fits of giggles. He had such a wonderful laugh and, once he started, it was hard to stop him - he’d literally cry laughing!

At that age, I never dreamed I would get to read the same story to my classes, as a teacher, but over my 14 year teaching career, I read it to every single class. I love doing the grizzly voice of Grandma and it is always brilliant to see a whole classes of children descend into fits as you tell them Grandma had a “mouth like a shrivelled-up dog’s bottom!”

This book brought me such joy and I am delighted to have been able to pass that on!

- Steph Reddington, Assessment specialist

The Intergalactic Omniglot

My absolute favourite thing about primary school was the one afternoon a week we had story time. We'd be sat cross legged, on the carpeted part of the floor, in absolute awe of the lady who appeared magically at the door of our classroom. She'd tell us fantastical tales from memory, or she'd pluck a messy stack of scribbled notes from her handbag, sometimes she'd tell us stories we knew but mostly we heard about Jamie.

I had no idea at the time that she was a parent at the school workshopping her first children's book. So when the Intergalactic Omniglot was presented to me I didn't understand. When I realised, I was doubled over with excitement and I don't think I slept until I'd read every page. I must have read it a hundred times since. To be able to read the story that I'd already lived in my imagination was an incredibly powerful and formative experience. One that with hindsight, along with some lovely English teachers, led to me becoming a journalist and writer as an adult.

- William Caston Cook, Communications


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