When I was a little girl, I read and owned lots of books. Not really surprising for a potential author.
But when I was a slightly bigger girl, aged 12 or 13, I decided most of these books were babyish and I should get rid of them. Classics like the Famous Five, Paddington Bear, the Wombles, Time and Again Stories, Teddy Robinson, the Faraway Tree, Milly Molly Mandy, Little Grey Rabbit, My Naughty Little Sister, Mallory Towers, St Clares, Fantastic Mr Fox, Danny the Champion of the World, Richard Scarry’s Big Books, Jennings, Just William.
Hands up if you remember any of those.
Off they all went somewhere, I can’t even remember where. To a charity shop? To younger friends? All lost in the mists of time.
But now I have a little daughter who loves reading. So what am I doing? Slowly buying back these books, one by one, from online retailers, who, bless them, sell them for £2.00 or so.
It is making me laugh and cry to see the dear familiar covers and illustrations again. Whatever was I thinking to give them away?
My mum said she was the same at 12- she gave away all her childish things and regretted it. Luckily, she kept some of my books and I still have a few left. But my library needs re-filling.
I expect my daughter will be the same at 12, think she is far too grown up for children’s books and want to give them away. But I shan’t let her. I shall put her old books in the loft- out of sight, out of mind- til she wants them back for her children.
The latest batch, Milly Molly Mandy and Little Grey Rabbit, arrived in the post today- hardback editions! My daughter gave them a cursory glance, but I carefully wiped the old, slightly faded and torn covers and shed a tear of happiness.