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The Books That Made Me

I'm a bookworm and proud. Before I made my YouTube channel private, I made a video defending the Twilight books (or rather all books) using the collection to argue my case that if a book gets someone to read, don't shame them for reading it. I stick by that absolutely. Any reading is beneficial to a person's development, especially when that person is a child.

I've been putting off writing this post for a while because quite frankly choosing my favourite books through the years is like choosing a favourite child and it's far too difficult. Therefore, please note that not all of my favourite books will be in here.

So maybe you're looking for some holiday reading material, inspiration for books to read to younger children or just fancy reading a nice, wholesome blog post. Here is my life through books.

0-4 Years (1999-2004)  
My parents and grandparents always made sure that I read or was read to every day once or twice minimum and some of my favourite memories are sitting on my grandma's lap or in my bed with my parents with a book.

At my grandma's house I would read Ladybird books, many of which had belonged to my father and uncle. Fairytales and children's versions of stories such as Robinson Crusoe tended to be the books of choice. At Christmas, my grandparents would fetch the box of Christmas books from the loft, the best  one probably being the Raymond Briggs Father Christmas comics although I can still recite The Night Before Christmas as a result of the pop up book I had.

At home, the books of choice tended to be the Eric Carle's The Hungry Caterpillar and The Very Quiet Cricket. The illustrations in them were beautiful and I loved the page in which the caterpillar turned in to a butterfly (sorry for the spoiler) as my dad used to flap the pages to make it move which I thought was genius at the time.

I was (and still am as I keep most of my books in boxes in the loft) the proud owner of all of the Little Miss and Mr Men books and when my brother was born in 2005, I continued the tradition and read these to him for his bedtime story. Mr Strong and Little Miss Shy were my favourites if I remember rightly and to this day if someone said 'turn it up at the corners' I would burst out laughing.

5-7 Years (2004-2007)  

When I started school in September 2004 (I was still 4 but I'll include this here anyway) I was reading chapter books and the Roald Dahl collection was my favourite by far. At first, I read shorter stories such as Esio Trot and The Twits to myself with my dad helping me a little more with the longer books but then I went on to read more independently and began to enjoy the longer books. George's Marvellous Medicine, Matilda and the BFG were probably read more than anything else and the only Roald Dahl book I didn't read multiple times was Charlie and The Great Glass Elevator - it wasn't as interesting. Roald  Dahl characters are hilarious, diverse in personality and thought provoking and I can't imagine my childhood without that collection of books.

Enid Blyton also made an appearance at this point. The Faraway Tree novels were firm favourites and as I got older this evolved to become the Famous Five (Five on a Treasure Island being my favourite) and Malory Towers (although this was probably a little later when I was at Junior School between ages 8-11).

An honourable mention should also go to the Winnie the Pooh books and AA Milne poetry. I was given a set of beautiful AA Milne children's novels and poems when I was 5 and they are such lovely books.

8-11 Years (2007-2011)

I feel as though this age range is too broad, however, I would like to finish this blog post at some point. Jacqueline Wilson and Cathy Cassidy were generally my go to authors during KS2. I met Cathy Cassidy at a book signing and she was one of the loveliest people I have ever spoken to. I believe I read pretty much every book either of them had produced by 2011, most of them twice. My Sister Jodie was one of my favourite Jacqueline Wilson books and  perhaps Ginger Snaps was my preferred Cathy Cassidy novel. Looking back, I love how these books tackled body image, family issues and discrimination, they taught valuable life lessons while being exciting stories to follow.

I also began to become interested in children's classics at this age. Sherlock Holmes, Little Women and the Jungle Book (although I am now more aware of Rudyard Kipling's questionable opinions) were well read books of mine at that age; I have always been interested in history and reading such books gave me access to it.

Finally, I have to mention Michael Morpurgo. I think Kensuke's Kingdom and Alone on a Wide Wide Sea would be my choices out of his novels however I didn't read one that wasn't thoroughly enjoyable. His novels cover a huge variety of genres and time periods and are beautiful to read.

Aged 12 - 14 (2011 - 2014) 

The next two age groups aren't really as distinct as the previous ones. In Year 7, I read my first 'proper' classic novel, Emma, which I thought was incredible. Quick tip: if you have a Kindle, classics tend to be very cheap or free due to not being copyrighted so just download loads. It was the first time that I'd read a novel that was truly challenging yet thoroughly interesting and it impressed my English teacher enormously.

This was a period particularly in which I read a huge variety of novels. I began to read American Literature including Of Mice and Men, The Color Purple and my all time favourite book, To Kill a Mockingbird.

However, I also read your typical, dystopian, teenage fiction novels. In my opinion, the best teenage dystopian series is the Gone series by Michael Grant (his other books are also fantastic) they are written in a way in which reading the six books didn't feel like reading thousands of pages - I couldn't put the books down.

Aged 15 - now (2014 - present) 

Over the past couple of years, I have made an effort to educate myself more in terms of social issues and the history of them. While I have mostly done this through articles, two autobiographies that I would highly recommend would be I Am Malala and 12 Years a Slave. I couldn't quite believe the experiences of the authors, their honesty and openness made me consider the everyday freedoms I take for granted and encouraged me to view the world with a different perspective - I would highly recommend both to everyone.

As I mentioned above, my favourite novel of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird and when Go Set a Watchman was released, I couldn't wait to read it.  Perhaps even better than To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee's writing is truly timeless and I loved every chapter.

Note: between the ages of 15- present, much of my reading has been for school, particularly as I take English Literature A Level. While I have read some incredible books because of this, I wanted to only include books I have read independently - plus, my list had to end somewhere...

SOME books that are also incredible include: 

Join Me - Danny Wallace
Harry Potter series
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
And many, many more....

Please let me know what your favourite books are! I hope you've enjoyed this post.

Elle x

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