Oxford is feeling very autumnal.
The holidays are nearly over.
We have got building work beginning on our house tomorrow morning!
But before I think to the term ahead, I wanted to share some of the books I’ve read over the summer. My older two have loved passing on some of their favourites to me and we have had lovely conversations over meals or on car drives comparing thoughts on characters or plots. Michael Morpurgo became a real favourite to pass on.
I found myself not being able to put his books down, and looking forward to the evening when I’d find another Morpurgo waiting on my bed to read. I was totally immersed in whatever land he had taken me to.
Right from the outset Morpurgo draws you into another world. In the stories I read there is often a young boy as the main protagonist (frequently called Michael!) – I wonder if there are autobiographical elements here? He often speaks of war and death but in a way that is sensitive, not gruesome. Many of his works start with a historical setting — well-researched to give a true sense of the times of which he writes. Morpurgo’s imagination then takes the reader on an adventure — much more engaging than a history textbook!
Morpurgo seems to understand the age of the child he is writing to, but he does not want to shy away from reality. He purposefully introduces hard subjects in a safe way for children, preparing them for life:
“…it’s very important that children have stories of redemption read to them when they are very young — that they go to bed feeling contented with the world. But kids grow up pretty fast these days. They see what the world is like on their computers and videos. It’s vital not to tie it up in a pink ribbon. Speak it as you find it. Speak directly. Look them in the eye.”
I’m so glad I’ve actually discovered Morpurgo’s works for myself. I feel all the richer for having enjoyed his stories, and will continue to hunt them down. He is a prolific writer, so that will not be hard! A wonderful contemporary British author whom I highly recommend for your children, or for yourself!
For more books ideas and recommendations: