The Books of My Childhood: Sally Murphy

Today I’m beginning a new blog idea which I hope will turn into a regular feature, with the participation of other Australian authors and illustrators, as well as anyone else who chooses to participate. I’m calling it The Books of My Childhood because it is where I will invite participants to share five(ish) books that they loved in their childhoods, and tell us a little about them So, here goes: my take on the books I remember from my childhood.

  1. MandyMandy, by Julie Edwards. This isn’t the first book I remember reading, but it is the first one I remember reading and wishing I’d written – so much so that I sat down and wrote my own story, Tereasa, which – like Mandy – featured an orphan girl who lives in a orphanage but longs to have a family of her own. For some reason I really connected with the character Mandy, even though I was very far from being an orphan. The other interesting fact about Mandy, which I only realised in my adult life, is that its author, Julie Edwards, is better known as Julie Andrews, the actress. How did I not know that the actress I loved was also the author I loved?
  2. Are You My Mother? (Beginner Series)Are You My Mother? , by P.D. Eastman. I loved this book and the absurdity of a bird being batched and mistaking all kinds of other things as its mother. I also have strong memory that this is the first book I felt confident to read aloud to other kids – on the reading mat at kindergarten.
  3. Horton Hatches the EggHorton Hatches the Egg, by Dr Seuss. I’m not sure why this book isn’t as well known by most people I know as Dr Seuss’s other books, because I adored this book, again for the absurdity of its plot as well as the strong sense of justice I felt with its ending. I also remember my Mum reading this one to me from a hardcover, red bound edition. It’s one of the first books I also bought for my first child as well as for my first grandchild. With two more grandchildren on the way, guess what I’ll be buying.?
  4. Volume 1 of the Childcraft books which accompanied our World Book Encyclopedia set and which was filled with so many poems – and coloured pictures, including photos. One poem stands out in my memory The Purple Cow BY Gellett Burgess, with its accompanying photo of a purple cow. There were other poems which I adored and memorised, but I think the amazing photo (remember, this was before photoshop!) helped to cement this one as a favourite.
  5. The Naughtiest Girl in the SchoolThe Naughtiest Girl in the School (and its sequels) by Enid Blyton – as well as so many of her other books, including the Secret Seven (which I liked better than the Famous Five). The Naughtiest Girl was the start of my love affair with boarding school stories, which culminated in The Chalet School stories in my teen year, and subsequently faded when I spent two years in boarding school myself and discovered there were no tuck boxes and very few midnight feasts.

So, there’s my five. If you would like to comment on these, feel free, and if you would like to write a post with your own five (give or take a couple)

Bio: Sally Murphy is a children’s author, poet, doctoral candidate, reviewer, mother, grandmother, wife and lover of life. She loves to read and one of her few regrets in life is that she can’t read in her sleep.