Of all the questions I get asked, this is probably my least favourite. For me, my favourite book changes (from a long list of favourite books) depending on what mood I’m in, which one currently meets my emotional needs, and so on and so forth. To me, they might just as well ask me which is my favourite child in class. It’s not a question I can answer. I can’t even choose my favourite from this year’s Hooked on Books category of the Coventry Inspiration Book Awards, and that has a) never happened before, and b) I was on the shortlisting panel and really could have made my life easier for myself.
It really doesn’t get any better when they then ask me, “Well, what’s your favourite genre then?”
Hmmm… “Children’s books.”
“Noooo, genre, like fantasy, sci-if, mystery, horror, humour!”
See above. That depends on my mood, the weather, where I am, whether I’m going to be interrupted. But the bottom line is, I’ll try anything. There is only one book I’ve started and not finished. There is a trilogy that, despite the hype, I just couldn’t bring myself to even try. Other than that though, it’s pretty much game on.
When I look at my personal bookshelf in school, it’s a mixed bag of books and while yes, I do love some more than others, they are all great books that are inspiring children to read. I know that just because a child loved A Library of Lemons by Jo Cotterill, they might not feel the same way about Boy X by Dan Smith.
Mr Wuffles by David Weisner and Where The Bugaboo Lives by Sean Taylor, and illustrated by Neal Layton, wouldn’t naturally sit next to There May Be A Castle by Piers Torday or Beetle Boy by M.G. Leonard in a bookshop or library, but on my shelf they do, because there are 30 children (60 if you count Year 6 who also borrow my books) who have different tastes and needs.
And that’s why books are brilliant. Each one, just like people, are unique, with their own story to tell and voice with which they tell it. This is why I tell the children at my school to choose books. Wordless books, picture books, graphic novels, short chapter books, long chapter books, poetry books, information books. Whatever books they want. As long as they choose books that they want to read, that will help them become readers.
With that in mind, I rewrote Irvine Welsh’s opening speech from Trainspotting. This is the final display piece for the class book corner, to liven up the sea green, floor to ceiling double cupboard doors that make me twitch with their dullness.
Now all I need is a printing company to transfer it onto a large transparency for me (for free). My handwriting won’t do it justice.
*Update* I worked out how to print it myself, the cupboard doors are looking so much better!