Week 14 : Books

I love reading. I’ve always been a book worm and I’m proud to say, not a book snob (although can’t quite bring myself to read “50 Shades of Grey). If I’ve read a mighty tome then for me there’s nothing better  than to sit down with a good chick lit book (is that an oxymoron?) because I find that my brain still wants to process the said tome but my eyes yearn for the printed word. Not that it has to be a print version; I have a fully charged Kindle and know how to use it!

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I was lucky enough to be the Library Assistant at a children’s primary school in Hong Kong for six wonderful years. The joy of connecting children with books, with helping staff find just the right book for their needs, to ease parents’ anxieties about their child’s reading and to have the privilege of helping to select new books for our library was so satisfying and I am eternally grateful to the three fabulously talented librarians, for whom I had the honour to work, for letting me do all this.

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Now I’m back in the UK and not ready to enter the paid job market, I actually have time to attend author talks. Recently I was lucky enough to listen to Oliver Jeffers and David Mackintosh in conversation at the Brighton Dome with my lovely author friend Sally Symes. Wow, what amazing if contrasting men they were. They both write and illustrate picture books for young children. They have quite different styles and very different approaches to their work but were united in their passion for telling a story mainly through the use of illustrations. What impressed me was that the story they wanted to tell was paramount. Neither man liked the idea of composing moralistic or preachy books, they both were firm that children would (and do) see right through them. However as they are both people with integrity, good messages ooze out of their books with ease.

So if you are looking for gifts for any child for any occasion, here are the first wonderful authors I can recommend.

http://www.oliverjeffers.com

http://www.profuselyillustrated.com

http://www.sallysymes.com

I’m now incredibly excited about another author I’m going to hear in next week and there are not enough adjectives to describe how much I love this man’s writing,. This summer I read his two new books and I’m going to listen to him reading “Fortunately the milk” out loud in its entirety! It’s Neil Gaiman I’m raving on about in case the print is too small on the photo. He writes for adults as well as children so please do look at his website. Recently my 16 year old son turned to me and said he’d discovered a new author, was enthralled with his books and wanted to be able to write like him. Of course I asked who and he asked if I’d heard of Neil Gaiman, ah kids. It’s every parent’s dream that their child will like reading so you can imagine my delight hearing my son has fallen in love with one of my favourite authors. Here’s Neil’s website link for your shopping list.

http://www.neilgaiman.com

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One of the previously mentioned talented librarians I worked for is now working and living in Australia. I turned 50 this year and she took the time and went to the expense of posting me the most wonderful book. It’s a reference book and the title says it all. “1001 children’s books you must read before you grow up” I must be still growing up because I’ve not read them all yet….! So if you are still looking for a book to recommend to a child, look no further.  Now I just need to find some free wall space in my house to unpack my boxes of books! Happy reading everyone.

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