What’s the first story you remember? One that someone read to you or told you? For me, it
was the ladybird books. Those gorgeous 1970’s covers and illustrations. Just looking at
pictures online for this post brought memories rushing back of the books we had -
Cinderella, Puss in Boots, Sleeping Beauty, the Elves and the Shoemakers, and so many
It must have been my mum that read them to me, because my dad hated reading out loud.
Instead, he made up stories for us. He created a whole world of characters, that I still
remember now, a woodland filled with animals who spoke and had adventures. Those
stories were the highlight of weekends with him.
Once I could read myself, I devoured books by Enid Blyton and Noel Streatfeild, the Narnia
books and anything else I could get my hands on. I went on adventures with the Famous
Five, (who I thought were far more exciting than the Secret Seven, though I read those too)
and desperately wanted to be one of the Fossil sisters in Ballet Shoes, or go to Malory
Towers with Daryl Rivers.
I remember clearly going with my parents to choose books. Hours were spent in the library
or wandering around bookshops - Grindley’s Bookshop in Leigh was always a special treat. I
also loved jumble sales and the excitement of never knowing what treasure might be found.
Would there be a famous five adventure I didn’t yet have, or a book of ghost stories that I
could scare myself with before going to sleep?
In short, my world was made up of stories, so it’s no surprise that I’ve ended up surrounded
by them in my work. Whether it’s reading books at Story Time, recommending authors, or sharing the love of a favourite book with a customer, stories are at the heart of everything I do.
At this time of year, when we are urged to Share a Story for World Book Day, I’m reminded
how lucky I was to live so much amongst books and stories. This year’s World Book Day
campaign really struck a chord with me. They want to start a Reading Revolution and are
asking people across the country to come together and Share a Million Stories. Anyone, be
they individuals or organisations such as schools, bookshops or libraries, can sign up to take
part. The number of stories shared is added online, and all add towards the grand total.
An excuse (as if I need one!) to read even more books to children and families? I signed up
immediately, and started planning!
We’ll be aiming to share stories with at least 500 children over the month. Sheldon and I will
be sharing stories at our regular Story Time Picnic sessions, and there are Saturday Story
Times on the 29th February and 29th March. We’ll be visited by a local school, nursery and
childminders, and we’re going out and about, too. Some of our staff will be going to the
library and the hospital to share stories with children there, and with author Ellie Irving to
another local school. I won’t be going anywhere, though. I’ll stay behind in the Emporium
with the books - come in and talk books with me.
Oh, and as a reminder, from the 27th February, children will be able to bring their World
Book Day voucher into the Emporium and exchange it for a free book. How amazing is that?