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Morag Hood

What was your favourite childhood book and why?

I read a LOT as a child, but I think one of the picture books which really sticks with me is ‘Burglar Bill’ by Janet and Alan Ahlberg. I loved the fun of the story and Burglar Bill saying “That’s a nice tin of beans, I’ll have that.” I really enjoyed the slightly deadpan text and the illustrations as he is trying to get to grips with caring for the baby he accidentally steals. For a book about a criminal it is filled with a lot of gentle love! Re-reading it as an adult I can see the message, of learning that your actions affect others and perhaps being a baker would be a better thing to do than being a burglar, but it doesn’t feel preachy at all. And I especially liked that Burglar Betty, despite not having chosen the most wholesome of professions to start with (!) was a career woman with a baby.

Which of your own books is your favourite and why?

I think I AM BAT is probably my favourite, partly because it is so much fun to read to children. Unusually, the words came very easily for this one and I found the specificity of Bat’s character pretty much straight away. I wrote it very much for fun and was initially quite surprised that my agent and publisher loved it.  I think it felt like such a silly story that it couldn’t possibly be an actual book! I also love hearing stories of tiny children using Bat’s melodramatic turns of phrase.

Why do you choose to read?

I couldn’t not read. Nothing else gives me the same sense of peace as being fully engaged with a story or world outside of my own surroundings. Reading is escapism, learning new things and a place to have fun. A good story is probably the most important thing to me, I love a strong plot and I like to read things which fill me with envy and inspire me to make more and better books.

Top Texts

Top Texts for October

October’s favourite read aloud books are chosen by Sarah Paxton, lead of the New Wave English Hub based in Hackney.

Top Texts for September

​This month’s favourite read aloud recommendations are made by Sonia Thompson, Head Teacher at St Matthew’s C.E. Teaching and Research School.

Top Texts for August

Great read aloud choices here for older readers, our top texts for August have been chosen by Fiona Evans, who is Director of Programmes at the National Literacy Trust.

Top Texts for July

​Karl Duke selects some high quality texts to promote reading to inspire learning for all.

Top Texts for June

Richard Charlesworth introduces picture books and graphic novels that create an emotional response in the reader.