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Memories of books I have loved. – Odette Elliott

April 17, 2010

Recently I read someone’s blog about a book that she loved as a child.  She said that she has never heard it mentioned anywhere, but she loves it.

This interests me, as one of the great things about having a book published is that one never knows who might read it. Or who will love it.  A book could be distributed anywhere from the Outer Hebrides in the North, to South Island, New Zealand in the far South.  Somebody could pick the book up and read it in a library shortly after it was published.  Or it could be discovered decades after publication, for example in a grandparent’s house.

Admittedly some books do not stand the test of time.  I remember being really sorry for my father, when I saw some of the books he had as a child.  He was born in 1908.  They were along the lines of “Good Dan” and “Bad Billy” and seemed very much like boring moralistic messages.  On the other hand, some of his boys’ adventure books were decidedly better.

Here are two books that I loved as a child.  So far I have never met anyone who has read either, but it is quite possible that they had a large, devoted readership.

The first is “Jam Tomorrow” by Monica Redlich.  It was also published in Puffin, so it was probably popular.  It mentioned American cousins who came to live with an impoverished vicar’s family. One of the cousins was a sophisticated American teenager and it took a while for all the cousins to settle down together.  It also mentioned finding treasure in the large old rectory. I suppose it satisfied the emerging teenager in me, as well as the child who liked adventure and surprise.

The second book is “Shadow on a King” by Frank Cox.  It was set in the reign of King Charles 1 of England.  The action passed backwards and forwards between France and England.  It was very fast moving and exciting.  I know that I read and re-read it many times.

My point is that there are some books “out there” that might not be very famous or make much money, but bring great joy to someone somewhere.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 19, 2010 1:20 pm

    I enjoyed this, Odette. There’s something very special about books you loved as a child, I think. I’ve just discovered Jane Nissen Books, which specializes in re-publishing old favourites, including Barbara Willard’s terrific Mantlemass books, which first came out in the 1970s. I’ve been reviewing the first two for the Historical Novel Society and begged the editor to let me review the others. JNB also publishes Violet Needham’s ‘The Woods of Windri’, one of my favourite books as a child.

    • childrensauthor permalink
      April 19, 2010 7:32 pm

      The author Violet Needham certainly rings a bell with me. Right now I can’t recall the names of her books that I read. I know I haven’t read “The Woods of Windri”. That is a pity. We could have reminisced. Odette

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