Children’s books now are brilliant and the choice is bewildering. We had fewer books in my childhood but we loved our books and bedtime stories. For small children the picture books were usually (as far as I remember!) about fairies, puppies, children playing with toys and happy family scenes.
Even when we were very young our mum used to read to us from the ‘harder’ books. We loved listening to all the ones now referred to as ‘classics’ such as Alice in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh and Black Beauty. Good stories were read over and over again. I knew Black Beauty inside out!
Nobody would write a book like this nowadays!
We were also read the The Water Babies and Paddington Bear. Other books we had were the collections of; traditional tales, children’s poetry, nursery rhymes and fables.
When I was a little older I loved The Children of the New Forest, Heidi (the whole series), The Secret Garden and A Little Princess. Boys’ books tended towards adventure and heroes – Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe – whereas girls’books were of a gentler nature! There was very much a gender divide especially in the collections and annuals.
These are some of my own books from my childhood. I think I badly wanted to be Heidi for a while!
The books which all three of us (two girls and a boy) loved were the Enid Blyton Famous Five and Secret Seven series. Unusually for the time they appealed to both boys and girls. They were so easy to identify with as the kids were our ages and they had such exciting adventures.