I was an avid reader as a child – much more so than I am now. My collection of hundreds of books held the secrets of other worlds hidden within their pages, waiting to be devoured and relished. We couldn’t afford to go on holiday when I was growing up, so I spent my summers curled up in the shadows of trees, exploring foreign lands through literature. Lately, I’ve found myself browsing children’s literature online, wanting to immerse myself in the stories of my childhood favourites once again.
It’s fascinating to revisit my old favourites – fond characters that had once been so familiar now spring back to life, as vivid and animated as the day I was first introduced to them. I also love the nostalgia of it. Re-reading an childhood favourite transports me back to the exact time and place where I originally read it, along with the same air of excitement as the tale unfolds.
The three orphaned little girls in this book – Pauline, Petrova and Posy – immediately captured my heart, along with the wider cast of eclectic characters. It begins when the girls are adopted by their eccentric Great Uncle, and follows their story as they vow to make their names famous and take to the stage to earn a living. It is a charming read which is beautifully written and heart warming.
The Secret Garden is a true classic – one of those wonderful books that is written for children, but is just as captivating for an adult reader. The children’s characters are so perfectly written, and the book is full of magic in the way that Burnett’s descriptions of the Yorkshire Moors give such clarity and capture the imagination.
I especially love this Penguin Threads edition, which was published to coincide with the 2011 centennial of The Secret Garden’s publication. The embossed cover art by Jillian Tamaki paired with the hand stitched structure and rough cut paper makes it all the more special. It truly is a tactile, textured, and beautiful book.
What were your favourite books as a child?