I am looking for a book, I wonder if you can help?
It was my favourite read as a kid, repeatedly borrowed from the library, and read cover to cover.
I’ve been searching for this book for years. On the cover was a black cat, possibly a girl, by some water with a dark Victorian mansion looming menacingly in the distance. And that’s it. That’s all I remember. Not the title or the author. I know it was about a girl trapped in time or maybe talking to the ghost of a girl trapped in time but that describes so many children’s novels of that era.
Do you know it?
Do you recognise the cover?
I borrowed it from Bromley library if that helps.
A troubled kid, I would run away from high school, hop a train or two, hide in the library, some twenty miles from home, before hopping trains back again for the long walk across the fields to be back in time, at least looking like I’d staggered off the school bus.
There was something about the peace of the library, the silence and the not being bothered that I had ‘another bloody book’ in my hands when I should have been off out to play.
What did you read as a kid?
I read everything, from cereal boxes to children’s classics. Once I learned to decipher those strange powerful squiggles I couldn’t stop. Never mind they danced upon the page, words sliding up to meet friends on the line above, over time I mostly got the gist.
Escaping into books saved me from a world that I struggled to make sense of. Being an odd sort of kid, in books, I found friends who did not judge. Friends who were lonely, talking to trees or ghosts, alienated from their own worlds. Friends who were brave, or silly or even weirder than me.
Searching Internet lists for my long-lost book in case I recognise the cover, I’ve rediscovered these long lost friends. Reading them now, I recognise elements of my own writing style – the long meandering sentences of Penelope Lively, the immersive description of Alan Garner. Not that I’m comparing, but I can feel their presence, a hand on my shoulder, their words whispered long ago, in my own.
My book choices were heavily influenced by my local librarian. Arriving unaccompanied, age seven, at the little scout hut that housed the local library, the librarian was suspicious of my lurking. Once she realised the scruffy, grubby, kid clutching buff-yellow cardboard tickets in hot little hands was not going to damage or steal the books, she took me under her wing, saving for me like some secret treasure, books she would bring from behind the counter. You can see her presence in my list. Though I never knew her name, I am eternally grateful for the worlds she showed me.
So here is my list, in no particular order, of some of the books I loved as a child.
What did you read?
The worst witch series – Jill Tomlinson
My naughty little sister series Dorothy Edwards
Topsy and Tim Jean & Gareth Anderson
Otherwise known as Shelia the great – Judy Blume
SuperFudge – Judy Blume
(In fact every single book by Judy Blume)
The weirdstone of Brisingamen – Alan Garner
The owl service – Alun Garner
Charlotte’s Web, E. B. White
Charly – Joan G. Robinson
When Marnie was there – Joan G Robinson
Kes – a kestrel for a knave – Barry Hines
Chocky – John Wyndham
Ballet shoes -Noel Streatfield
The Ghost of Thomas Kemp – Penelope Lively
Five children and it series – E. Nesbitt
The railway children – E. Nesbitt
The water babies – Charles Kingsley
Thursday’s child – Noel Streatfield
Carries war – Nina Baldwin
Little women – Louise. M Alcott
The machine Gunners – Robert Westall
Heidi – Joanna Spyri
Wuthering Heights- Emily Bronte
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
The borrowers’ – Mary Norton
A stitch in time – Penelope lively
The family from one end street- Eve Garnett
Then and now I see my passion for women writers.
So tell me, what was your favourite book as a kid?
And have you seen my book ?