One of the best things about volunteering in Oxfam is meeting the various people who come into the shop. York is a very diverse area, as well as being a tourist hotspot, so we always get a wide variety of people coming in to explore the shop. Being as nosy as I am, I always love sneaking a peek at what they’re buying and so the other day I was delighted to see a young girl buying one of my favourite childhood reads; The BFG by Roald Dahl. I remember the first time I ever read this book, my first experience of Roald Dahl’s writing, and being captivated by his whimsical descriptions and his endearing characters.

It also got me thinking of reading as a child; how important do you think it is to get children reading, not just as part of their education, but as a recreational hobby? There’s a lot of talk about children being practically raised by the television set/video games/internet these days, but could this possibly be causing books aimed at younger people to become slowly redundant? Books like Harry Potter series or the Twilight saga are fantastic in encouraging young people to read, but why stop there? What books would you suggest to encourage children to become interested in literature and why – or what books do you feel shaped your childhood?

Here are some of my suggestions;

  • Goodnight Mr Tom – Michelle Magorian
  • Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
  • His Dark Materials –Phillip Pullman
  • Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
  • Anything by Enid Blyton
  • Anything by Roald Dahl

So next time you’re in the shop, check out the children’s section under the stairs, whether it’s to introduce any children in your life to the pleasures of reading or just to indulge in nostalgia.


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