I asked a load of people to let me now what their favourite children's book was and why as a way to celebrate National Children's Book Week. I've been printing a few during the week, and the local paper put some of the list in an article which came out on Thursday. Never has the whole list been seen....until now.
Tim West (local resident, and co-creator of the Wood Green Bookshop)
Little Rabbit Foo Foo
A Bunny, A motorbike, a mallet and loads of mindless violence, brilliant.
Julie West (his wife) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
George West (10) A Series of Unfortunate Events- Limony Snickett
Harry West (7) the Gruffallo's Child... no.. Peter and the Wolf (ladybird)... no.. the Gruffallo's Child. Or Pokemon.
Simon Key (Local resident, and co-creator of the Wood Green Bookshop)
Danny, Champion of the World - Roald Dahl
I wanted to be Danny, live in a Gypsy caravan, never go to school, and have the most amazing adventures that we’re just a little bit dodgy.
Simon’s Nearest and Dearest;
Katie Chuck (his girlfriend) Then - The Magic Faraway Tree. Magical. Much better than Harry Potter and where JK got her ideas from I imagineNow - How I Live Now, genius book at any age.
Aylsa Key (Mum) When I was a child, some good few years ago, my favourite book was "Milly,Molly,Mandy" probably now too dated for present day youngsters. My Father had moved to the Cotswolds to a post as lecturer in a College there. My Mother and I were still in a city in the north, unable to join him as it was war time and he was in a closed Air Ministry area. He used to send or bring me the books whenever he was able to visit us and I couldn't wait until the time that we were able to live, as we subsequently did, in a village in that part of the country and meet up with the likes of Milly Molly Mandy, Billy Blunt and Little friend Susan.
In later years, as teacher in a kindergarten class, the favourite books amongst the little people were "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and any of the Bramley Hedge books with their beautiful illustrations.
Justin Key (brother) I have very fond memories of 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar'; there's just something about the book that stays with you when others from such a young age fade away.
Lynne Feathersone (MP Hornsey and Wood Green. Lib Dem)
My favourite book for reading to my daughter when whe was little was 'Jenna and The Dream Catcher'. I am afraid I cannot remember who it was by - but it told the story of the Dream Catcher who went into childrens' bedrooms at night and caught their dreams. It had the right amount of scariness - a traditional ingredient of very good childrens' tales and wonder and magic. The illustrations were excellent - and I am a sucker for good childrens' illustrations (I used to be a designer / illstrator myself) - and of course - my daughter's name is Jenna!
Cllr. Matt Davies (Liberal Democrat, Fortis Green)
Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak
one of the earliest books I remember being read to me as a child - and which I have bought for all my nieces since. It's a great escape from the real world into something fantastic, a good children's book shouldn't be too 'real' or too 'educational'!
Cllr Catherine Harris (Liberal Democrat, Noel Park)
Chose 3 books
My favourite - though its very hard to choose, was and is The Lion theWitch and The Wardrobe, followed by Tales of Anansi Spider, and WhatKaty Did.The idea that Narnia is not accessible through a wardrobe, I found saddening as a child, as I wanted to be part of fighting the Evil White Queen.Anansi Spider is a Caribbean tale of excitement and daring, and What Katy Did enthralled me with survival over the odds.
Judy Dyble (Singer with Legendary Band Fairport Convention)
Hounds of the Morrigan- Pat O’Shea
How delightful to be asked to do something like this, particularly as I used to work as a library assistant at Wood Green Library. The Hounds of the Morrigan works on so many levels, as a sweet adventure with little bits of myth and magic, a little bit scary but everything usually rights itself by the end of the chapter and with wonderfully barmy characters, my favourite being the duck whose name escapes me (and I can't look it up because my children (aged 27 and 30) keep borrowing the book and not giving it back....)
Zizou Corder (author of Lion Boy)
Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson-Burnett
because three people get redeemed, in a row like dominoes. Also, bieng a city girl, was deeply in love with Dickon
Jean Gibson (local resident)
Diana Wynne Jones.- A Charmed Life
ah there is a tale! Cat with nine lives- the wonderful oozing giant insects that are released by the naughty Gwendoline on the guests at a house party- Chrestomanci books are great fun- perhaps tamer than the more unusual books because as a series one knows the main characters from others in the series- but this is great fun and exciting as a read.
Anthony Goldstein (local resident and ex-Ottakars/Waterstone’s)
The Limony Snickett series
How can you not love a vain and stupid villain like Count Olaf. And it's a great Potter antidote. Genuinely witty and sly with lots of puns and references that only a reasonably well-read adult would spot. Possibly a bit formulaic. But hey, if the formula works, why complain?
Michaela Carlowe (local resident)
Carrie’s War – Nina Bawden
it was very atmospheric.
Gillian Lazarus (ex-employee at Waterstone’s in Wood Green)
Oscar Wilde – Collected Short Stories
especially The Happy Prince and The Selfish Giant. Why? The language is poetic and the imagery beautiful and the sadness of the stories is particularly poignant because they resonate in the story of Wilde himself and the way he was victimised.
George Beale ( ex-employee at Waterstone’s Wood Green)
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus – Mo Willems
Good advice for anyone
Jayde Lynch (ex-employee at Waterstone’s in Wood Green)
Chose 2 Books
Ohhh its sooooo hard just to pick one - I think it would have to be "Each Peach Pear Plum" for just its sheer rhyming genius!! I also loved "The Rainbow Fish" what with the shiny scales on the page and beautiful watercolour illustrations.
Kimberley Pitsillides (yes, another ex-employer)
Michael Morpurgo- Kensuke’s Kingdom
because it is a beautiful story, full of adventure and hope
Cally Gibson ( and another)
Where the Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak
There's nothing like an oldie, and Sendak's classic picure book about Max, and his fabulously naughty behaviour will always be a favourite with Wild Things of all ages. Sendak hid the first draft of wtwta in his ktichen drawer for 4 years as he was never entirely happy with it, but thankfully, on a spur of the moment, dug it out, re-drew it in a day, and the rest is history...Beautiful engaging illustrations that will making you roll your terrible eyes with delight. Lovely stuff.
Ben Gutcher (another ex-employee)
When We Were Very Young
This is the most outstanding tome of poetry I have ever read and brings back lots of happy childhood memories - I used to think that there were bears in London that would eat you if stepped on the lines.
San (bookseller from Putney)
I hope I’m not too late to send you my list of kid’s books. My all time favourite children’s book when I was growing up in the south of the Netherlands was ‘Winter in Wartime’ by Jan Terlouw, but sadly the English edition is out of print. So I’ll choose ‘Miffy at the Seaside’, or indeed, any Miffy book. So cute and fluffy and simple and educational (though I didn’t know that at the time, of course). The librarian had a hard time convincing me to read other books back then:
Me, whispering: Can I have this one, please?
Librarian: But you’ve already read this one. Twice.
Me, still whispering: I want to read it again.
Librarian: Don’t you want to try something else?
Me, a little louder: No, I want to read it again.
Librarian: How about Boris Bear?
Me, getting impatient: I want this one!
Librarian: Or this one?
Me, on the verge of tears: I want THIS ONE!
I love Miffy…
Nicola Robertson (well, Lucy Robertson 6, and Sam Robertson 3)
Lucy's (6) favourite books are Horrid Henry ones Horrid Henry's Evil Enemies being the best. The look of pure joy on her face as she hears about Henry's naughty exploits - doing all the things she would secretly love to have the courage to do, says why she loves this so much.Sam (3) on the other hand has a favourite book which believe me I am all for putting in the bin as it now drives me mad is the Little Hotchpotch by Brian Patten and Michael Terry. Sam adores the repetitveness of the book and the fact that he knows it by heart so can now join in also the fantastic eye-catching illustration.
Sophia Acheampong (author of Growing Yams in London)
Chose 2 Books
The first is 'Avocado Baby' by John Burningham. The idea of a baby gaining strength and successfully outwitting bullies definitely appeals to me. I loved reading it as a child. My second book is 'The Witches' by Roald Dahl. I had a fantastic teacher who read it to the class, then asked us to close our eyes as she offered us what we believed were real worms (they were sweets). A great read with the right mix to keep any child entertained!
Amanda Lees (author)
Kumari Goddess of Gotham
because I wrote it. OK - it's a blatant author plug but I actually, genuinely love it because it's exactly the sort of book that enthralled me as a child. Goddess of Gotham is my first book for kids and the first in a trilogy (I'm currently editing the second book, Goddess of Secrets, and am about to whizz off to the Bath Lit Festival to run a goddess workshop!). It's about a goddess in training from a hidden kingdom who suddenly finds herself in New York, running for her life through the Macy's Parade...her only friend in the world her pet baby vulture, Badmash...
Jane Ciabattari (author of Stealing the Fire, and magazine editior)
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J K Rowling
because it opened a new world, with all aspects thoroughly thought through, from the methods of transport and message carrying through the types of candies kids would love. The other Harry Potter books are also among my favorites, but the first was a revelation.
Melissa Flashman (literary agent)
Poison Apples – Lily Archer
The writing is poignant and funny. It has been compared to Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants perhaps because of its heartfelt take on friendship and family. To be sure, that is true, but I simply couldn't put it down.
Anji Pratap (Author and Publishing Contracts Manager)
Chose 2 books
THE BLUE BANANA. I think it was in a reading series but it was fantastic. It was basically this quest for the rare 'blue banana'. I just remember really liking the pictures, the idea of it and the fact that I could read it myself but that it wasn't dull like the dreaded Peter and Janes. I've tried to find this on E-bay and Amazon since but to no avail. If it's not possible to use this lost gem my next choice would be The Very Hungry Caterpillar because of the innovative use of holes in pages.
Mark Farley (writer of blog ‘bookseller to the stars’)
Kestrel for a Knave
When I was growing up, I couldn't undertand or relate to the likes of The Hardy Boys and the Secret Seven. Priviledged little brats bounding around the dale with their yappy pedigree in tow, solving mysteries like who stole the vicar's jam etc. But A Kestrel for a Knave, and its tale of struggle, poverty and family drama set in the harsh north in the eighties was something I could definately get to grips with and also understand. Billy Casper was my Richard Campion.
Will Williams (bookshop Manager)
Dark is Rising Sequence – Susan Cooper
Re-read them only last year and they remain an amazing sequence of books, pitching the age old fight of light against dark within the famework of celtic mythology in both the present day and Britain's deep mythic past. Deeply evocative and full of rich images and satisfying set pieces, I'm convinced Philip Pullman drew on their inspiration when writing His Dark Materials.
Maxine Hastings (Cambridge University Press)
Alice in Wonderland,
because I wanted to be Alice.
Kate Ladell (student)
Chose 2 books
1) The Very Hungry Caterpillar - the first book I remember reading, and read to my little sister when she was a few hours old.. love the pictures and the way some of the pages have holes in :o)2) The Jolly Postman - love the rhyme, the details, the way you can open the post on each page, and the connections to numerous fairy tales!
Philip Allen (musician with London band Honeygene)
Asterix ....pretty much the whole series, but Asterix the Gaul and Astrix in Switzerland stand out in my memory. They were colourful, had magic potions and fantasticastical names.
I'd like to add that I did ask representatives of all the major political parties to send me their choice but only the Liberal Democrats replied. So don't think there's any political bias in the list. Please feel free to add to the list, as we hope to use the list to compile one of the shop's first promotions.
Thanks to everyone who helped us with this.