My Reading Heroes.

I was that weird kid that hung out in the school library at break times. I'd shuffle in as soon as the bell sounded, while other kids sprinted out to the fields. I would get in amongst the bookshelves and breathe in the book smells, and damn I was happy. I was me. 

I would write my essays on the student computers, I'd run my finger along each shelf looking for a fresh new title I hadn't yet touched, occasionally I'd even help out the librarian behind the desk with the checking out of books and re-shelving the returns. 
I found solace in books and friends between the pages from a young age. They kept me going on the harder days and accompanied me when I was soaring high - they still do now, of course. Some of these friends were my heroes, for various reasons. These are my reading heroes - the ones who taught me the invaluable lesson that yes, it is okay to read. 


Of course. Every other girl has been inspired - or at least lightly touched - by Miss Granger and her love of academia, adventure and...books. I personally discovered Hermione (and for approximately one year pronounced her name 'Hermy-one' in my head) when I was 8 years old, reading 'The Philosopher's Stone' in a modest lodge in Argeles Sur Mer on the family holiday, after my auntie had got me the books for my birthday because she'd seen kids swarming bookshops everywhere to get them. I was amazed to find this girl, this young wizard girl, who loved reading and learning and was mocked for it but ultimately saved everyone in turn with her knowledge teamed with her limitless bravery. At first I wanted to keep her all to myself. My Hermione. I dressed as her several times for World Book Day at school - wearing robes my mum had made me, with a wand pocket sewn inside, and a toy ginger cat and a stack of books that I carried with me diligently all day. I loved Hermione, because she was different, and she was me. The first character in a book I could see myself in - the me I was, and the me I wanted to be. 

Side note - my lovely friend Fiona Longmuir recently wrote a post entitled Being Hermione. It is about how she is Hermione, and how Hermione is all of us. I could say it's perfection, but don't take my word for it - take JK Rowling's, she retweeted it after all! 


I can recite the Danny Devito voice over that was played during the montage of Matilda growing up in the library and dragging a plastic trolley of books home with her day in and day out. I remember my distress when I watched Mr Wormwood pulling apart Matilda's loaned copy of 'Moby Dick' for the first time. I got up on the coffee table and danced like she did, whirling ornaments and objects around me with my secret super powers. Yes, the film meant a lot to me. One of the many reasons why is this: Matilda read and read and read and she found herself. 

Mara Wilson is still an idol of mine, but for very different reasons these days. Writing reasons! 

I saw Matilda: The Musical recently for the second time in London, and again was reminded what a hero that girl is for young girls and boys, maybe even adults too. My fully gushing feels following that show will be up in blog post form soon.

Klaus Baudelaire. 

The most unfortunate orphans were saved time and time again by this young man's obsessive reading and worldly knowledge he obtained from years spent in their parents' library in the old house - before the kids were cast out onto the streets and made to live with a never ending stream of irresponsible relatives or compromised care givers, which made for upsetting lives for them, but excellent reading for us. 

The Casson Kids. 

As I grew up and moved on through secondary school I soon realised that I hated Science and Maths classes. It wasn't just that I hated them - I was no good at them. I felt stupid. These classes made me feel stupid. From that false stupidity came hate. It seems so silly now - I wrote a letter to my teen self a while back, saying that getting A*'s in English and Drama and Art but just B's and C's in the sciences didn't make me an idiot, it made me creative! 
Anyway, in Science Year 9 I started reading in class. Everyone would have to get their textbooks out and go through exercises, listen to the teacher as he/she demonstrated the experiments, and that's when I'd sneak my fiction books into the spines of my textbook. The first book I did this with was 'Saffy's Angel'. Then 'Indigo's Star'. Then eventually 'Permanent Rose' - although that was tricky as that particular novel was a heavy hardback. 'Caddy Ever After' came later and delighted me when I was recovering from Year 9 Camp. I escaped with the Casson family in all their messy colourful adventures. They taught me so much about being creative, following your dreams, painting murals on walls and...creating your life. Thanks Cadmium Gold, Saffron, Indigo and Permanent Rose. You bright brave bunch. 

Okay, those are my reading heroes. There are probably many more, but that's it for now - these are the fictional friends who taught me that it's not just okay to read, but it's awesome. Thanks, guys. xo


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