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 Text for February

Bob Cox seeks to support schools’ work on using quality texts for quality writing​.

Top texts for January

Caroline Sence of charity ‘Read for Good’ recommends entertaining, diverse and accessible picture books for all ages.

Top texts for December

This month’s selections are drawn from the School Library Association’s Information Book Awards, and chosen by Alison Tarrant.

Top texts for November

Chosen by Diane Leedham, these texts are aimed at older readers and reflect a wider awareness of diversity.

Top Texts for October

Using a theme of “old but gold” our top texts for October have been chosen by Ben Harris​.