I wish I’d written…
Roopa Farooki chooses the book that reminds her what it is to be a child
The children’s book I wish I’d written? It has to be Winnie- the-Pooh by A. A. Milne.
I first read the original A. A. Milne books and the poetry collections when I was about six years old, and was inspired to create imaginary adventures with my own over- sized teddy. I rediscovered the books by reading them to my two boys and twin girls when they were babies.
The stories of Pooh and his friends are true to the tips of his honey-dipped paws. So wise, witty and whimsical, from pretending to be a cloud with a blue balloon, to improvising a boat from an upturned umbrella. I love how the world grows from Christopher Robin’s nursery to the Hundred Acre Wood, how Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore and Owl have their own friendships and flaws and fights. It is exactly how I wrapped stories around the toys in my bedroom. It is what my four children do now.
Roopa Farooki’s new book, The Cure for A Crime, (978-0192773593) the first book in the Double Detectives Medical Mysteries series, is published by Oxford University Press, £6.99 pbk.
Winnie-the-Pooh reminds me what it is to be a child, to be always curious, sometimes cross and full of wonder about the everyday. It reminds me that we are never alone as long as we have our extraordinary imaginations. It reminds me of the forever nature of friendship.My
favourite Pooh line is from one of Milne’s poems, when Pooh and Piglet are hunting dragons. “I wasn’t afraid”, said Pooh, said he/ “I’m never afraid with you.”
The Bridge to Terabithia Katherine Paterson, Puffin, 978-0141359786, £6.99 pbk
Bridge to Terabithia is a young adult novel that deals maturely with a friendship streaked with loss and tragedy. In this adventure-fantasy book, when Jesse Aarons forms an unexpected friendship with the new girl and neighbour, Leslie Burke, they create a magical kingdom named Terabithia. A world of giants and spirits, it’s a world away from Jesse’s difficult home-life of 1970’s America. Despite their contrast in character, personalities complement each other.
Leslie is imaginative and courageous, Jesse is shy and artistic. However, Leslie teaches Jesse how to be more carefree. The more time Jesse spends in Terabithia, the more he sees that, ‘in the shadowy light of the stronghold everything is possible’. In spite of this book being banned in many American States because of its questioning of religion and the tragic twist, I believe that it deserves its place as a modern classic because of its beautifully written theme of friendship. I would recommend this book to anyone with enough imagination to swing across to Terabithia.
Amelie Amalou, Second Year 20 Books for Keeps No.240 January 2020
The Murderer’s Ape Jakob Wegelius, Pushkin Children’s Books, 978-1782691754, £8.99 pbk
A gorilla, but not your normal gorilla: an engineering, chess champion gorilla. Sally Jones’ captain on the Hudson Queen (boat) has been arrested for murder. But she knows he didn’t do it. On a terrifying and extremely exciting journey Sally Jones ventures out into the world to prove her captain’s innocence. Meeting great friends and enemies along the way, she makes sure she will get her captain out of prison even if it is the last thing she does. No one knows how old she is or where she came from, but this gorilla can do anything. Or can she? When times get tough and fleeing from the police and people who are out to get her, can she really trust anyone? I would recommend this book to children aged 12
years and above and would rate the book 4 out of 5 stars due to the sheer brilliance of the author and the way it pulls you in and makes you feel all of Sally Jones’ emotions.
Jack Brady, Second Year
India Smythe Stands Up Sarah Govett, Marotte Books, 978-1916152601, £7.99 pbk
India Smythe Stands Up is a captivating and eventful read, filled with humorous moments. It is about a girl called India facing all the typical struggles of teenage girls – annoying parents, strict teachers and boyfriends! India has been asked out by the hottest boy in the year, Ennis. However, deciding to go on a date with Ennis isn’t as easy as it should be. Although India is tempted, she actually enjoys spending time with less cool orchestra-going Rich – so who should she go for? I would 100% recommend this book to all teens;
I have already read it twice and will read it again! It is a book teenagers can really relate to and conveys some really powerful messages about status, friendship and standing up for what is right. You won’t be disappointed if you read this book. Sophie Bailey, Second Year
Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne, illus E. H. Shephard, is published by Egmont, 978-1405280839, £14.99 hbk
This issues Good Reads are chosen by pupils at Kingston Grammar School.
Helen Cleaves was one of three librarians on the Honour List for the School Librarian of the Year 2019, recognised for the impact she had as Learning
Resources Manager while at Kingston Grammar School. She ensured that the library was always welcoming, relevant and purposeful and ran innovative reading promotions including establishing the school’s first Poet Laureate and regularly producing The Guilty Librarian podcast.
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