If you’re a mum, I’m guessing you spent this World Book Day morning either: a) feeling smug that you made/bought/borrowed a costume for your child to go to school in or
b) feeling stressed as you pulled their duffle coat on (pausing only to scribble on their nose with your kohl pencil and hand them a sandwich) before saying: “You’re Paddington Bear, now go – we’re late!”
Aside from the pressure on parents to deliver Oscar-worthy costumes to parade our precious’s to school in, I love World Book Day because it encourages children to be passionate about books and shows them that reading is play, not work. I just wish that the fun extended to adults.
“Books gave me a way to connect to my father. I grew up on film sets, and books were my connection to the outside world. Later in life, they became an escape, a means of empowerment, a friend I could rely on.” – emma watson
We need books now more than ever. In tumultuous times there’s no better place to retreat to than fictional worlds; not just as an escape, but as a place to find answers. Reading can soothe and calm; it gives us a deeper connection to the world; provides company and can inspire friendships – both real and fictional. Ashling and I bonded over our shared love of books and Anne of Green Gables and Laura Ingalls Wilder were the ‘kindred spirits’ that got me through my pre-teen years. As C.S Lewis once said. “We read to know we are not alone.”
Fittingly Emma Watson has spoken to Vanity Fair about her love of books, saying: “Books gave me a way to connect to my father. I grew up on film sets, and books were my connection to the outside world. Later in life, they became an escape, a means of empowerment, a friend I could rely on.”
So on this World Book Day let’s take a lead from our kids (and Emma) and make books the old friend we rely on. Perhaps they, more than any scrolling social media feed, can help us make sense of this Orwellian world we find ourselves inhabiting.
3 of my best book “friends”
the childhood friend: Anne of Green gables by L.M Montgomery
the classic chum I keep coming back to: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
the counsellor: Tiny, Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed