My favourite children’s book when very young was an anthology of rhymes called Jolly Jingles (my brother and I particularly liked the one where a little boy bought a whistle and started to play, toody, oodly, oodly, ay, and his mother said stop it, my hair will turn grey). A little older and my favourite was The Magician’s Nephew, the first in the Narnia series by C. S. Lewis; magical, fantastical, with a frisson of fear. And my all-time favourite at 10 was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle – my first taste of the strangeness of science fiction. I took it out of the library, took it back and took it straight out again until I had my own copy.
Apes to Zebras because I so enjoyed making the animal-shaped poems, or Be the Change, Poems to Help You Save the World, which is a subject very close to my heart.
I love opening a book and stepping straight into being someone else, in another world, escaping whatever else is happening around me in mine. Reading books I’ve experienced wonder, astonishment, alternative cultures, other ways of being and thinking, and it’s given me a toolkit into understanding other people. There is never nothing to do when you have a book.