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We’re on our way to see the newest grandchild, just a few weeks old. As a gift to the little fella, we’ve been asked to choose our favourite book/s from our childhood. What a lovely idea!

The choice was very easy. Obvious, in fact, for both of us. And both were a series of books, read early in our lives and the ones we really remember as luring us forever into the magical world of reading.

My pick was C S Lewis’ Tales of Narnia, a fantasy world reached through the back of a wardrobe. I read the series when I was in Second Grade. In fact, I devoured them, so quickly was I drawn into the lives of the three children and their friends in Narnia. How vividly I imagined those stories. Still now 50 years later, I can see with absolute clarity the kind, grand face of Aslan the lion, and recall my distress when I read of his suffering and cried many real tears. I also still see in my mind snippets of shaved fur and rope and his large majestic paws. Confronting perhaps when you’re little, but amazing to be drawn so entirely into another realm.

Mr T chose the Lord of the Rings series, which he read at a similar age. I can’t speak for how he felt when he read those books, but he’s kept them and treasured them always and still watches the movies with relish when they come on television, which gives you an idea. He read those books out loud to our kids in their beds at night, the stories delivered over many months, maybe years.  How mesmerised they were. He didn’t actually finish the whole series with them, so he’ll have to make up for that with the grandkids. We just have to make our way deep into the ‘studio’ to find his copy of The Hobbit to make the set complete.

Despite my own affection for Narnia, I must say I could never pique the girls’ interest in it, try as I might. Instead they turned to the tales of Harry Potter and his world of wizardry as their definitive childhood books. They were at the perfect age for the Harry Potter phenomenon and aged in sync with Harry and his mates. That meant long lulls between books, waiting with huge anticipation until the next book was released, then line ups early at the bookstore to buy a copy hot off the press. Exciting times. The older one slept with a Harry Potter book on her bedside table for probably 15 years.

I’m hoping the books we’re gifting end up being more than just the books themselves, and perhaps turn into favourites. Let’s hope it helps to introduce Bubba to the world of reading and literature and he learns to love it for himself. It’s a pretty remarkable world, that book world, and is one that helps you on a path to other learning and understanding.

What was your favourite childhood book? Have you still got them?

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