It’s almost true to say that my favourite book, as a child, was any book I could manage to lay hands on. I read all the time. My parents claimed that I read in my sleep. Particular favourites, though, were Arthur Quiller-Couch’s Oxford Book of Ballads (Border Ballads are thrilling, scary, and wonderfully tragic) and Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson – the perfect adventure story The description of Blind Pew’s stick tap-tap-tapping on the road gave me chills but I loved it. I still read the Ballads; and I always open Treasure Island when I’m ill in bed. Not all ‘children’s books’ are books just for children.

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