Sussex book lovers share their favourite reads from their childhood

We all know how important it is for children to read and be read to, so it's vital to find books tha

We all know how important it is for children to read and be read to, so it's vital to find books that fire their imagination (c) monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

As children all over East and West Sussex prepare to celebrate World Book Day, we asked local bibliophiles which works they wish they’d found as young readers.

Naomi Bishop

The Book Nook, Hove

One of my favourite books published last year was Lampie and the Children of the Sea by Annet Schaap. It's a magical story with a brilliant female protagonist who shows empathy, celebrates difference and who strives for kindness.

As a child I always wished there were more books with strong and determined girls as the main character so I would have welcomed this one with open arms. It's a beautifully written fairy-tale adventure and has earned itself a spot as one of my most favoured books.


Jenny McLachlan

Most Read

Eastbourne-based author of author of The Land of Roar, the Ladybirds series, Stargazing for Beginners and Truly, Wildly Deeply

The book I wish I had discovered as a child is Smile by Raina Telgemeier. It's an autobiographical graphic novel about, wait for it, a girl who knocks out her two front teeth. Although it has a humble premise, it is bursting with honesty and humour, and it perfectly sums up the vast array of conflicting emotions we feel as teenagers. Smile is the best sort of book - it feels like a good friend - and I would have loved it by my side when I was growing up.


Candida Lacey

Publishing director at Myriad Editions in Hove

I read Tracy Beaker and The Illustrated Mum when my daughter Eve was eight or nine years old. Jacqueline Wilson's bolshie, charismatic heroines survive care homes, bullying and inadequate parenting and are a world away from the anthropomorphic stories or classics of my childhood.

I ditched the Malory Towers series in favour of the French existentialists to impress my elder brother who had six years on me and arrived home for the holidays with a bold disregard for our parents and The Outsider in his pocket. Philip Pullman would have bridged that gap, of course, and his combination of adventure, jeopardy and philosophy made His Dark Materials a guilty pleasure to discover as an adult.


Sarah Hutchings

Director of Collected Works CIC, an award-winning reading organisation based in Brighton

This may surprise some people, but a book I have read as an adult I wish I'd discovered as a child is Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne. My partner had the whole set, so we read them together, it was actually quite romantic. I couldn't get over how beautifully they were written, and also how the stories were so life-affirming. They celebrate friendship and kindness wholeheartedly, and I think the world could certainly do with a bit more of both.


Sarah Meadham

The Book Ferret, Arundel

I wish I had discovered I Capture the Castle as a young reader, it's the perfect book for anyone "bookish". The narrator is 17-year-old Cassandra, an aspiring author who is charismatic, candid, thoughtful and funny.

This book is full of charm, with a quirky and lovable family at its heart, and oh-so-very English!


Tam Pearson

Assistant head of Junior School at Our Lady of Sion

Little Women is a literary classic which escaped me until adulthood. Some talk of its saccharine style, religious undertones and outdated gender stereotyping, but I could not disagree more. The content provides provocation for thought and discussion - how are expectations and opportunities similar/different for women today? Would you have enjoyed living during this time and how would you cope with the challenges they faced?

It's an excellent text to encourage empathy, research and conversation.