SF Said, lovemybooks patron and author of Varjak Paw, The Outlaw Varjak Paw and Phoenix, tells us about the books which were significant to him as a child:
The first book I can remember reading is The Cat In The Hat. I loved it; I wanted the cat to come to my house and smash everything up! I think I was in love with books and stories from that moment. Perhaps it’s no accident that my first book ended up being about a cat!
Watership Down was a life-changing book for me. I read it at the age of 8. I remember thinking it was the best book I’d ever read, and that one day, I wanted to write something even half as good. I re-read it when I was 35, and thought it was even better! It was amazing to see how deeply its mythology had shaped my own imagination. Without Watership Down, I would never have written Varjak Paw or Phoenix.
I believe there’s a book for everyone out there. But it can be hard to find it, with over 10,000 children’s books published a year in the UK. This is why a resource like lovemybooks is invaluable: because it is created and curated by specialists with huge experience in developing a love of books, and helping children become true lifelong readers.
If a child is going to become a reader for life and enjoy all the benefits that flow from lifelong reading, it’s vital for them to love their books and to feel a sense of ownership over them. This means we need to give children choice and access to books they will really love.
Everything I think is important about lovemybooks is right there in its name!