World Book Day and the Books that Shape Our Imagination

Today is World Book Day and although our next story cycle and therefor the next Our Stories book, is not happening until May, I thought it would be a good opportunity to pay tribute to the books that shape our imagination in childhood. My daughter’s school day began dressing up as one of her favourite characters from a book as it did for her class mates and most of the teachers. It was a brilliant display with the children all having made a huge effort to emulate more or lesser known fictional figures. What struck me was how seriously the younger ones take this exercise every year, undoubtedly feeling empowered and more like themselves when dressed up (as you do when you still have the imagination of an infant school child).  As for the older children, although with one foot still firmly rooted in childhood, but the other one already striding towards adult-like cynicism, it seemed less escapism than just a bit of a lark and a slightly less serious day at school. However, looking at the teachers in full Paddington, Wizard of Oz and Roald Dahl-inspired regalia I could not help thinking that they were the ones having the best time with it, grateful for the opportunity to play. As for myself, my favourite book character ever is Astrid Lindgren’s ‘Ronja’. I fell head over heels in love with her tomboyish strength of character and independence, the way she stood up to her bullish father, as well as her intimate knowledge of the forest and its inhabitants-animals and spirits. I held on to her all throughout my teens like some beacon of perseverance and positivity, reading and re-reading the pages in order to stay close to her. She helped me through times when I could have done with the wisdom of a grand parent. Sometimes I still catch myself dressing a bit like Ronja. Oh, and I cannot wait to introduce her to my daughter.

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