Here in the UK, World Book Day is being celebrated on the 1st of March. The rest of the world will be celebrating it on April 23rd, the date that UNESCO selected as it is the anniversary of the death of Cervantes and the birth and death of Shakespeare. I will be marking World Book Day by visiting a couple of Edinburgh schools, reading from my new book and sharing my love of reading and writing with local students.
Recently, I’ve been rereading some of my favourite books from my own childhood and reflecting on just how important they were to me growing up. It’s no exaggeration to say that the books I read back then helped to shape who I am now. The first book I reread was The Keeper of the Isis Light, by Monica Hughes, which I recently picked up at Helios Fountain and was thrilled to discover had been published here in the UK by my own publisher Floris Books. I hadn’t remembered the details of the story, but the image of Olwen Pendennisl had lurked in my subconscious for decades until it snuck out into a YA novel I was writing a couple of years ago.
The second book I revisited was Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonsong. Sadly Anne McCaffrey passed away this past November. The books she wrote for young readers taught me to believe in possibilities. Dragonsong was my first introduction to girl power.
The third book I just happened upon in a charity shop before Christmas. I didn’t remember the title, or any of the story, but something about the book as an object, something about the picture on the cover gave me such a strong feeling I bought it on the spot and brought it to Inverness for my Christmas reading. It was the first English edition of Astrid Lindgren’s The Brothers Lionheart. I was not disappointed. There was a reason that book left such a lasting impression, beautiful and disturbing in just the right way.
On March 1st I will be celebrating these three books along with all the others that have a special place on my bookshelf and in my life.