Today is World Book Day in the UK (hey, that rhymes!) and Ireland. It’s actually the 20th edition this year so happy 20th to World Book Day. If you don’t know what that is, here are the details, available on the official website:
“The main aim of World Book Day in the UK and Ireland is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own. That’s why we will be sending schools (including those nurseries and secondary schools that have specially registered to participate), packs of Book Tokens and age-ranged World Book Day Resource Packs (age-ranged into Nursery/Pre-School, Primary and Secondary) full of ideas and activities, display material and more information about how to get involved in World Book Day.”
Basically, thanks to National Book Tokens, booksellers, and publishers, World Book Day sends 15 million (!) vouchers to children and young people in the UK and Ireland. With those vouchers, they can go to their local bookseller and use it to pick one of ten books. Completely free.
Isn’t that amazing? I’m all for encouraging children to discover the pleasures of reading, so any organization or event celebrating books or reading is a very good one in my book (see what I did there?).
In honour of World Book Day, I’ll be sharing my favourite books growing up. These are the books that really got me into reading and I’m forever grateful to everyone who was involved (author, publishers, family members, etc.) for bringing them into my life.
Matilda by Roald Dahl
This is the first book where I really connected with the main character. I’d enjoyed reading stories before, but when I read Matilda, I recognized myself in her which I hadn’t done with any character before. I got into her world and it was pure pleasure reading about a kind, smart girl who’s not afraid to be herself. I think that’s an important message for kids to hear so I’m really happy it’s still around and read by many young readers. I know I’ll be reading it to my kids one day.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
What can I say? I love that man. He was one of my favourite author growing up. At that time, when I was about 6 or 7, I couldn’t even understand how anyone could imagine all these different worlds and characters.
Trees made of taffy? Everlasting gobstoppers? Oompa-Loompa’s?
It was mind-boggling to me.
And then there was the crazy but wonderful Willy Wonka who stole my heart. I would’ve done anything to get a golden ticket to go see his chocolate factory. I admired Charlie for being humble and kind and a good person in general (despite his circumstances), which is why he was easily one of my favourite characters.
The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
And last but not least, the books my generation grew up with. How could I possibly make a list without including Harry Potter? This books series almost single-handedly got an entire generation (and older generations too!) to read. You can argue with me on this one, but I don’t think anything like that had ever been done before. Not on that scale at least.
In short, everyone fell in love with the Harry Potter universe. What’s not to love? You’ve got a kind and caring main character (much like Charlie), an unspeakably evil antagonist, a school for witches and wizards, a friendly half-giant, an old but wise mentor, amazing friends that will believe in you no matter what, magic sports, potions, wands, spells, and so much more.
J.K. Rowling created a world that is so rich in details that it’s hard not to get lost in it. And that’s what most of us did. We completely lost ourselves in Harry’s world from the first page and we never looked back.
What were some of your favourite childhood books?