I didn’t fully understand Jonathan Swift’s epic at nine years old – that was why reading it made me feel so free.
This is the first book I remember owning, given to me in 1938 by a nurse in the Homeopathic Hospital where I was being treated for an ear infection.
I curled up on the big chair ready for more stories about these jolly trolls with their magic hats and family picnics. I got something very different.
A fantasy story about the last gnomes in Warwickshire, it’s a richly detailed, luminous love letter to the English countryside.
When I first picked up this book again after many years, I remembered it only as a fun story about a chap who wants to go to the moon – with dinosaurs. But it’s so much more.
Charles and Mary Lamb did something amazing when they retold Shakespeare’s plays for children: they made available to kids like me some of the most moving stories at the heart of a culture.
Norman Juster’s seminal tale is an adventure story about the absolute wonder of learning – and the need to discover and maintain curiosity.
The Sams series is built around a German linguistic constraint that doesn’t translate: to take the name of each weekday literally and see what that does for the narrative.
Kipling’s stories had an intense allure for me: I too was a boy living, if not in an Indian jungle, then something very close to one in West Africa.
A book – a hardback, bound in clear plastic – which I read, and then read again, feeling that fluttering sense of wonder and terror that the best horror brings.