For as long as I can remember I have loved books; I haven’t always been as prolific a reader as I am now, I hit my real stride around the age of 14 when I discovered the beauty of the school library, however, books have still been a constant throughout my life. When I was young my parents read to me, then I upgraded to memorizing every word in a book so it ‘appeared’ that I could read, until eventually I learnt to interpret the scribbles on the page.
Unfortunately I don’t remember the names of authors from the very early stages of my childhood. There was some jam panda book that failed to teach me how to tell the time, a baby polar bear that didn’t know how to swim and a mysterious toy horse that came to life but I don’t remember any of those that well. What I do remember though is my extreme obsession with the author Jacqueline Wilson which probably started around the age of eight.
She has written a ridiculous 106 books throughout her career which I have read at least twenty-six of during my childhood. To the right are the ones I managed to dig out from the back of my bookshelf, I did own more than these but some seem to have miraculously disappeared, maybe there’s the ghost of a book thief hiding around this place, hmm…
Jacqueline Wilson is such a fantastic writer, the popularity of her books and my own obsession with them proves that she knows exactly how to reel in young readers and get them to relate to a character. Looking back, I feel these books were so important because they tackled multiple issues that young children and teens were bound to come across or experience throughout that key time in their lives, situations that adults may have felt uncomfortable discussing in great detail because they were emotional and complex. Things like domestic abuse, eating disorders, divorce, bullying, death, the foster care system and many others I probably can’t remember. I think books are actually the best way to tackle these issues, they give a unique insight into the crazy human thought processes and help people understand they are not alone. I know some parents try to shelter their kids and prevent them from reading books like Wilson’s because they are worried, but honestly they can be such a positive influence.
My favourite of all Jacqueline Wilson’s books was Lola Rose. It followed the young protagonist Jayni. She longed to be beautiful like her model mum and rock star father but had to make do with her mousy brown hair and partiality to chocolate. Then her mum wins the lottery and things change; her mother finally summons the bravery to sneak away from the toxic household and rents a new apartment determined that from now on life will be different. They even pick new names and Jayni chooses the far more grown up and glamorous ‘Lola Rose’. But it isn’t long before all the same issues start catching up with them, and not all problems can be fixed with money.
I must have read this book at least five or six times when I was younger, it was definitely a favourite and I still remember the story so well! Something about the mixture of characters and themes must have caught my attention in a way the others didn’t and I think the writing is good enough that I would still love it now as a nearly adult. 🙂 Here’s to you Jacqueline Wilson’s for being one of the first authors to make me fall in love with reading!
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What is your favourite childhood book? Did you ever have a favourite author when you were growing up? 🙂
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