Ask me what my favourite books are and the answer will be long, but scattered with children’s books and amazing authors: The Secret Garden, numerous Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton classics, Little Women… the list goes on. These are the books I was raised on. Growing up, our family home was full to the brim with books; Mum loves to read, my older brother and sister are the same (my Dad and younger brother don’t, so we won’t mention them). Books were everywhere.
Any spare moment of the day, a trip in the car, bedtime, mealtimes – all were a chance to stick my nose in a book. Book weeks and festivals at school were heaven to me, and hearing authors like John Marsden and Victor Kelleher speak were highlights; it was a novelty to have contact with an author (there was no internet back in my day!) and to see someone living the life I dreamed of.
Even now, if I’m near a bookshop, I’ll run in – straight to the children’s section.
Sharing my passion for books with my daughter is a dream for me. My Mum gave me a wonderful gift in the example she set for me; I have memories of sitting down with Mum and my sister, each of us taking turns reading from The Secret Garden, even though (I didn’t notice at the time) Mum was almost falling asleep after a long day at work. Bedtime reading was a sacred time, a calm, happy moment each evening when it was just us, sharing a love of books.
And so I do the same for my daughter. Although she is only little – a toddler – she already loves books. My husband (also a big reader) and I have been reading to her since the day she was born and it’s so rewarding to see her pick her favourites, say the lines she knows and do the actions.
So, when people ask me, why write for kids? I say it’s a natural progression for me. It’s no wonder I want to write the type of book that I hold dearest, the ones that form many of my fondest childhood memories and, I hope, will create some beautiful times with my daughter in the future.