Meet the World Book Day authors!

Yippee! World Book Day is on March 2nd and to celebrate this joyous day of books, we asked some of the authors of this year's £1 books a few sneaky questions about their own world of reading - plus share your own answers below!

Jacqueline Wilson
What is the most magical bookish adventure you’ve been on?
It's very hard to pick just ONE magical bookish adventure - there have been so many! Can I pick three? The first book I ever read from start to finish when I was five or six was The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton. I was so fascinated by the Faraway Tree in the story and all the adventures above the clouds at the top that I raced through the pages. Then when I was about eight I read Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild and this story about girls at stage school seemed so real that I felt the characters were my own sisters. And lastly I'll pick the first adult classic I read when I was about twelve, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, an amazing powerful gothic story with a small poor plain girl as the heroine.

Why do you love children’s books?
I love children's books because there's such immense variety and they seem especially vividly written and compelling. I still reread some of my old favourites.

What is your first book token memory?
My grandma often gave me a book token for a birthday present and it was wonderful going into my local bookshop knowing I could buy any book I fancied with it. it often took me ages to choose.

What's the best thing about your favourite bookshop?
I live near Richmond which is a great place for independent bookshops. There used to be a marvellous specialist children's bookshop called The Lion and the Unicorn. That's sadly closed now, but another great children's bookshop has opened up called The Alligator's Mouth. It's very bright and colourful and friendly, and the best thing about it is that they nearly always have a copy of the very book you're looking for.




Claire Freedman 
What is the most magical bookish adventure you’ve been on?
One children's book always sticks in my mind - The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson-Burnett. It’s a truly heart-warming story with great characters, and really shows the power of imagination - which is always magical to me!


Why do you love children’s books?
I love children's books and in particular picture books as this is the genre I prefer to write. I may be a big kid at heart, but I love looking at illustrations in picture books - they add to the pleasure of reading and really set the imagination alive, drawing you into the magic of the story. Children's books are much more succinct and have a faster pace, which appeals to me too.


What is your first book token memory?
I remember I won a book token at school for coming first at something. The book I chose was one of the series of books about a boarding school - by Enid Blyton. It was called St Clare's. I obviously chose that because of the name on the front cover!


What's the best thing about your favourite bookshop?

I love all bookshops and the best thing about them is that you can just browse the shelves, and lose yourself picking through the different books at leisure. It's great when you can ask for advice about any book and the staff know exactly what you are looking for and why. I can't pass a bookshop without popping in and seeing the latest arrivals. I could happily spend hours in there, reading and looking.



Francesca Simon

What is the most magical bookish adventure you’ve been on?
Reading Edward Eager's Half Magic in my school library. I was so engrossed I didn't hear the bell ring, or my entire class leave. The librarian had to shake me 45 mins later...

Why do you love children’s books?
I love children's books for their adventurousness and the sheer brilliance of the storytelling. I can't remember books I read last year, but my favourite children's books stay with me always.

What is your first book token memory?
My first book token memory is bringing my son Josh to our local bookshop while he pondered which book to buy.

What's the best thing about your favourite bookshop?
My favourite thing about the Muswell Hill Children's Bookshop is what an Alladin's cave it is: so many books, beautifully displayed, in such a compact space.



David Almond

What is the most magical bookish adventure you’ve been on?
I read The Third Eye by Lobsang Rampa when I was twelve. He said it was an account of his childhood in Tibet. It swept me away to Lhasa, the Himalayas, yetis and onto the astral plane. Turned out Lobsang was a fraud - he was a plumber from Devon. I didn't care. The strange book worked its eerie magic on me.


Why do you love children’s books?
The variety! Children's books come in so many different forms. They're playful, serious, experimental and hilarious, just like children themselves!


What is your first book token memory?
Buying a book about the astral body in a gift shop in Newcastle.


What's the best thing about your favourite bookshop?
Seven Stories Bookshop in Newcastle is a treasure house - a huge stock of children's books, beautifully presented and organised, run by people who understand books and children and who have a passionate belief in the importance of children's books in the world today.



Michael Grant
What is the best book adventure you’ve been on?
The Aubrey-Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian. It’s set in the Royal Navy, circa early 19th century and it’s my ‘get away from it all’ series. I’ve read the whole thing at least three times, start to finish. Honorable mentions to LOTR, to the Flashman books by the irreplaceable George MacDonald Fraser, everything by Bernard Cornwell or China Miéville. Oh my God, I never noticed, but they’re all British. Okay, gotta say a word for my home team: The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch by Daniel Kraus is amazing.

Why do you love children’s books?
Well, I love writing them because young readers bring their imaginations. That’s the secret sauce, the imagination contributed by the readers. As a writer you’re saying, “Hey, wanna go see crazy town?” Adults will hem and haw and look for something safe and predictable, while kids will say, “Of course we want to go see crazy town! Duh!” And off we go.

What's the best thing about your favourite bookshop?
I love my local shop, Book Passage, in Corte Madera California. And the best thing is they carry my books - even the ones that don’t sell very well.



 

Why do you love children's books? What's the best thing about your local bookshop? Let us know!

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