I have been asked that question by two different people in the last twenty four hours.
My friend R... turned up yesterday. Between us we have reached the point on the jumper where the V neck stitches have been picked up and she is working around them. After that there will be the top of the sleeves. If those are managed without too many problems this thing may be finished before Christmas. She sat there and worked through the intricacies of the V neck yesterday and asked me, among other things, about my favourite book as a child.
And now my friend Vanessa wants to know as well. She runs the Glenogle and Bell book company...go hunt and read. I should know how to add a link but I don't.
Did I have a favourite book as a child? I had favourite books at different times I suppose. The reality is that I just loved books. I read almost everything that came my way. I failed to finish only a very few - I suspect that they were just a little too difficult for me at the time.
So when R... asked me I tried to think back to the books that stood out. Even that was difficult. I remember a lot of them.
So, here are three:
(1) The Little White Horse (Elizabeth Goudge)
Maria is a real heroine. She's not without her faults but she is brave and she is not afraid to stand up for what is right. She knows girls are every bit as capable as boys. Yes, I'll remember Maria and that wonderful array of characters who appear with her.
(2) The Woolpack (Cynthia Harnett).
Nicholas is another wonderful character. Reading Harnett's books was a completely painless way of learning a lot of history. Cecily, to whom Nicholas is betrothed, is a wonderful tomboy. It is an adventure which keeps within the boundaries of the time in which it is set.
(3) The Lark in the Morn and The Lark on the Wing (Elfrida Vipont) All right two books - but one is a sequel.
Kit. How do you describe Kit Haverard? Sensitive, uncertain of her place in the world? She is a thinker. She has doubts and determination. The contrast between Kit and her much older cousin Laura is marvellous - Laura is a busybody, well suited to her decision to train as a social worker. Kit is going to succeed through sheer hard work and determination.
After I had said all these I realised that each one is a Carnegie Medal winner. The Little White Horse is still in print - perhaps because it was televised? None of Harnett's marvellous books are in print. Vipont's books have been made available by "Girls Gone By" but I wonder how many girls actually read them?
They may not be easy to find but I'll go for Maria, Nicholas and Kit any time.
And your choice is?