Here in Australia, 2016 Book Week is in full frenzy and I’m heading to a local school to do some presentations which had me thinking about my favourite books when I was a child.
I was one of those kids who read by torchlight when I was supposed to be sleeping, anyone else? Scary stories, mysteries, fantasy and those fantastic choose-your-own-adventure books, remember those??
I also read a set of books by an author few may remember now, Arthur Ransome. He wrote a series called Swallows and Amazons and the kids in it went on boat rides alone, ate awful sounding tongue sandwiches (honestly what was with the tinned tongue in the 1930s??) and solved mysteries.
By today’s standards the books may seem very old fashioned but I still think the most popular books, the books kids love, are still at heart very much the same. They’re about children stepping out into scary worlds on their own, being resourceful, having adventures, facing danger and surviving. The settings may have changed but what we all yearn for is constant; a chance to show you’re more than people think, to find your inner strength, to shine, to be part of something magic, something bigger, to take some power back in a world where children are told they have very little agency, that they must ‘do as they’re told’. That’s the magic of those stories, whether it be Swallows and Amazons or Harry Potter, the story makes us feel part of something special and I love that despite the change in our society, the generation gap, we still have a bridge that connects us all.