Tansy is celebrating the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book Week by writing about her childhood in books, and invited others to join her. I was in dire need of some sort of impetus to do some writing – sleep deprivation does not assist with any sort of creative venture.
My mother has kept a large crate full of my childhood books, in anticipation of future grandchildren – before Edward was born, she brought down a small bundle of them, and I enjoyed flicking through them, remembering the stories and my pleasure in them when I was small. I think my parents read at least one book to me every night, and I taught myself to read before I started school (probably in order to read more). Some of my most vivid childhood memories are about books – either the stories themselves, or traumatic incidents like The Time I Dropped My Book Behind the Bus Seat.
I taught myself to read before I started school, and I have very vivid memories of many books I read at that age. We have received quite a few books as gifts for Edward, and I’ve enjoyed looking through them, remembering reading them when I was young – classics like Who Sank the Boat, Possum Magic, Peepo and a collection of all the Beatrix Potter books. I can’t wait to read Ted the story of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, and The Tale of Two Bad Mice – they were two of my favourites. I had a dollhouse (populated with a family of miniature bears), and I loved the two mice rampaging through the dollhouse, outraged that the food laid out temptingly on a table is only made of plaster.
I had vague ideas previously of the sort of child I would like to have, the things I would want them to do with their lives. Now that Edward is here, his own determined energetic self, I realise that I don’t care at all what he does with his life, as long as he is happy. But I would like him to enjoy books – to enjoy having storytime with me and his father, seeing him learning to read himself, and choosing his own books to bring home from the library. Reading for pleasure is such a large part of my life, and I do so want to share that with him.