Reading Friends – Memories of Childhood Stories – Part One

As part of our Reading Friends project we asked staff to share their memories of favourite childhood books, stories and poems. They came back with a wide range of titles - from Winnie the Pooh to Adrian Mole. Here are just a few of those chosen. Can you guess the most popular book amongst the staff? It’s the one at the end…

Children of Cherry Tree Farm by Enid Blyton

I borrowed ‘Children of Cherry Tree Farm’ by Enid Blyton from the junior library many, many years ago, my mum found this copy for me more recently 😊 I loved this book and just wanted to crawl into the pages and join them in their adventures and picnics. It’s an idyllic tale of country life, with rich and colourful descriptions of the many types of wildlife that the children encounter and where the sun shines everyday. It teaches children about the beauty and wonder of nature over material things, it’s a wonderful natural history lesson, without even realising that you’re learning. I still sometimes wish I could join them!


Emil and The Detectives by Erich Kastner

As a primary school child in the 1970s amongst my regular reading were bellicose comics like Warlord, Victor, Commando books and Biggles, by Captain W.E. Johns. They were packed with baddies whose names were often things like Gruber, Schmidt and Manstein. Obviously, this colours a young mind. So my opinion, at the time, of Germans was not good. Then, at the age of eight, I picked up Emil And The Detectives by Erich Kästner. Here was a boy, Emil Tischbein, alone on a train, trusted to cross Germany with a month’s worth of his mother’s money pinned inside his jacket. My pulse raced – A boy, not much older than me was trusted to ride a train alone and carrying so much money. The claustrophobic panic I felt for him was so real. You just knew something would go wrong. I loved it. Here the ordinary lives of ordinary Germans played out on the page and in my mind and, subliminally, slowly, I came to the realisation that we had so much in common. ‘Achtung Spitfire’ and all the other ridiculous clichés meant to sum up the character of a nation slowly melted away. The story is great fun, the scrapes that Emil gets in to made me breathless and the outcome is the stuff of dreams. I won’t spoil it by giving it away – read it for yourself.


The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner

Flower Fairies by Cicely Mary Barker

I loved the folklore, scariness and atmosphere of The Weirdstone of Brisingamen. I always wanted to visit Alderley Edge to see the places in the book. I only made it there as an adult with my own children! Identifying flowers and wildlife from Ladybird books and Cicely Mary Baker’s Flower Fairies books. Whenever we went on holiday, I used to get a new one for my collection!


The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton.

This was by far my favourite childhood book, I LOVED the possibility of seeing one of the “fairy folk” whenever we went into any woodland. It sparked my imagination and I’ve read all the books to both my girls too – they love them just as much – sharing with them and coming up with voices for all the main characters was even more lovely than when I read them as a child!!











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