I was thinking about how to take part in Read it Daddy!’s campaign “Read it, Mummies and Daddies 2013” campaign, a brilliantly laudable effort to engage parents in reading aloud to their kids. Now, the big thing I need to make clear at this point is that I am not a parent nor never have been. So that sort of ruled that out. I do borrow children from time to time (that sounds like I’m the Child Catcher!), but I didn’t really think that could work for me.
But then it hit. I thought I’d tell you about my mum and dad.
I’ve spoken about them briefly before. But this time I want to tell you a little bit more. The thing is, my love for literature is rooted in them. Fact. I come from a household where stories live, where weirdness is okay (if not mandatory), and where stories are part of everyday life. I was never, ever, brilliant at school but I was good at writing and stories and being a stubborn contrary little thing (but that’s a different story!). I ended up going to the best contemporary arts university in the world (“Will you sign this form?” “No, but I’ll do an avant-garde dance for you…?”) and then taking a MA in Children’s Literature. I got through this with my passion for words, language and stories, that all started in the days I curled up with my Mum and Dad listening to the Chronicles of Narnia and Roger Lancelyn Green.
And it was through thinking all this, that I realised something. I can contribute to this campaign.
So here’s my pledge.
I will share with you the things that make my heart sing. Not necessarily the best sellers – but the weird and wonderful and the old and new as well. I’ll go behind the scenes, open them up, and I’ll talk about what makes them tick – and when they don’t – and I’ll share with you my passion for discovering how and why we react to books as we do. I’ll talk about colours and shapes, about lines in picture books, and at some inevitable point I’ll suggest you all beg/borrow/buy the entirety of Dick Bruna’s back catalogue.
And I’ll do all this because these books are awesome and I believe in the massive potential of people to achieve an equivalent level of awesomeness*.
*And yes, it is obligatory to go all Bill and Ted on this sentence.