Ladybird editor Katie, who has been busy creating our new fiction series Genie Street, shares some of her childhood memories of how she fell in love with reading.
As a book editor it’s fair to say I love to read and it’s rare to find me without a book in my hand these days. There is something magical and unique about getting lost in the pages of a story, learning something new about a character and, of course, reaching the end of a great book.
When I was young, my dad would read my favourite childhood picture book, Shirley Hughes’ Dogger, to me night after night and it wasn’t long before I was desperate to be able to read it on my own. It wasn’t enough to have my mum or dad share these stories with me – I was ready to unlock their secrets myself. If I wanted to read these books on my own, I would have to learn to read.
And so my reading journey really began…
First stop was Roger Red-Hat by Sheila McCullagh. I can still remember the satisfaction I felt when I reached the end of a sentence and then the end of the page. And absolutely nothing compared to completing the book all by myself before moving on to Billy Blue-Hat. The sense of achievement I felt was wonderful, and I wanted more!
Once I had mastered the basics, my parents couldn’t hold me back. I was reading wherever and whenever I could; in the bath, on long car journeys and even under the duvet at night with only my torch for company. Pretty soon I was devouring Jill Murphy’s The Worst Witch, Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Roald Dahl’s The Twits. These books were ‘real’ fiction – they were proper chapters stories with black and white illustrations instead of colour pictures. And I could read them. I was reading!
I haven’t looked back since…
These first ‘real’ fiction books were for me, like all young readers, incredibly important. They kept me on my reading path – for with each completed chapter I was one step closer to finishing the book! That’s why we here at Ladybird want to create fun chapter books that are perfect for newly independent readers. We want to make stories that capture children’s imaginations and motivate them to read chapter after chapter, so that they, too, can continue their own reading journey. For as Walt Disney so aptly put it: “There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.”
And we think our new fiction series, Genie Street, is a treasure trove waiting to be discovered. There are six chapter books in the series and each contains two laugh-out-loud stories. The books are the next step up from Ladybird’s Read it yourself Level 4, so the text is fairly large and the vocabulary is simple to ensure each chapter is manageable. Plus there are plenty of humorous illustrations to add to the story, too.
So come and join Tom and Daisy on Genie Street – where every door leads to a magical adventure! It all begins with one very ordinary lamp post, which turns out to be rather extraordinary. When the lamp is rubbed in a special way; once up, once down, then three times round and round, the children enter the magical world of Lampland!
We hope children will love reading these ‘real’, grown up books as much as we have enjoyed making them. If you’d like to read more about the books and meet the characters, visit the Genie Street website.
We’d love to know what was the first book you remember reading by yourself? Join the conversation here by leaving a comment, over on Facebook or on Twitter @Ladybirdbooks, using the hashtag #myfirstread.