Today Hazel Edwards tells us about her five favourites from childhood.
The Land of Far Beyond by Enid Blyton
My grandfather had a private lending library and the children’s section was a wall of Enid Blyton. So I devoured the Famous Five and the Secret Seven, and then moved onto flying with Biggles. I wasn’t that keen on horses, so missed out on the Mary Grant Bruce books. But the book which impacted on my early life was Enid Blyton’s ‘The Land of Far Beyond.’ This was my first experience with an allegorical story, which was a quest, and where the characters had the names of their attributes. E.g. Mr Doubt, and the giant’s page boy called Fright. Even the places they travelled matched their names.As an adult, when we orienteered on a real map with Mt Disappointment labelled, it reminded me of ‘The Land of Far Beyond.’ Because I no longer have my own copy, I Googled the title and had a feeling of familiarity as I looked at the cover on the Enid Blyton Society webpage. http://www.enidblytonsociety.co.uk/book-details.php?id=358
Today’s children would consider this cover bland, but I loved the sense of a journey conveyed in the artwork. I liked the economy of a story with several meanings and layers. But the story ALSO needed adventure and danger with eccentric characters to interest me
The Rubaiyat of Omah Khayyam
My father encouraged me to read. He shared ‘The Rubaiyat of Omah Khayyam’ with me by reading it aloud. I didn’t really understand it. But I liked the shape of the ideas. And the idea of a door to which there was no key. Maybe that encouraged me to co-write Hijabi Girl later.
The Magic Far-Away Tree, by Enid Blyton.
The atttraction there was the food and the variety of different lands.
Animal Farm, by George Orwell
Read the other levels later as an adult. But as a child I thought it was about pigs.
The poetry of Robbie Burns
My father read this in his Glaswegian accent and I didn’t understand a word of it, but I knew he liked it.
My other reading was Biblical stories because I went to Baptist Sunday school. So my reading was fairly diverse as a child. Now I prefer biographies and well-plotted mysteries.