Wednesday, 11 March 2009

What's Yours?

I have recently been surrounded and hounded by top-ten lists and requests to Name Your Favourite So-and-So. For the most part, I have tried to oblige, and have found other people's ideas quite interesting. When it came to the question 'What's your favourite book?' however, I froze. I couldn't do it...

There were far too many things to consider. Did they mean my favourite book of all time? Best-written book? Favourite characters? Contemporary or classic? What genre? Book that had the biggest long-term effect upon me? The list could go on and on...

But then, sitting wondering how to kick-start this site, I started thinking about it again. 'I should review my favourite book' I thought. Except, the same list of questions was there... what does this mean? How do I narrow down the options?

So then I thought 'what's my favourite children's book at the moment?' and this was a little easier.

Mine would have to be 'The Heaven Shop' by Deborah Ellis. It's a tough read, with heavy, difficult concepts to grapple with from the very first page. Some parents (and children) may be disturbed by the content; not one to pick up if you are after light-hearted entertainment. However, it sensitively tackles important issues, treating young readers as capable beings with the right to know about the real world. Outside of the heavy materials, Ellis creates real, warm characters and a detailed, sometimes surprising environment, which can only stem from spending time with the people whom the book concerns.

Still thinking about the purpose of these questions, I realised that this is the perfect opportunity to start a debate, introduce ourselves, and offer new ideas to each other. And so, I pose the question to all of you: 'what's your favourite (children's) book... at the moment?'

Answers in the 'comments' section at the bottom of this post, please.


Jack said...

My favourite is 'charlie and the chocolate factory' because I love chocolate and Roald Dahl and it makes my mouth water. It's funny and clever.

Rich Nanashi said...

Mine would have to be 'The Savage', written by David Almond and illustrated by Dave McKean. It approaches the picture book genre with originality, and Almond's psychological writing is complemented perfectly by McKean's distorted illustrations.

Annise said...

My favourite childrens book is Midnight Blue by Pauline Fisk. I read it first when I was about 7 or 8, and it captured the imagination in that really special way that some books do... I couldn't say exactly what it did so much better than any other children's book, but I loved it then and I love it now. It deals with a lot of childhood fears in an interesting setting, and has brilliant characters all around.

Rachel said...

Wow, this is a tough question. I'm glad you included "at the moment". Some of my favourite children's books include The King of the Copper Mountain by Paul Biegel, Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie and Matilda by Roald Dahl. All three of those deal in different ways with the power of stories. I saw a lot of myself in Matilda when I read about her at five years old!

At the moment, though, I would say my favourite children's book is The Way to Sattin Shore by Philippa Pearce. It combines dark themes of the mystery in a family's past with smaller day-to-day adventures in the present, with some really well-captured characters and a main character who is a brave, determined and resourceful young girl. I re-read it a few months ago and was as drawn into the story as when I first read it aged about eight.

Alias Mum said...

It would be a long list, but I'm going to start with December by Eve Bunting. For one thing, I think its the most staggeringly beautiful book, with David Diaz's amazing illustrations and recycled paper collages. For another, it has the world's most heartbreaking opening:

"My mother and I live in a house we made ourselves. There's black printing on the walls


As an introduction to the reality of poverty this story manages to be both gentle and stark and is, therefore, suitable for all ages. Most importantly, Eve Bunting tempers the happy ending and allows children to work out the moral for themselves.