Today’s post is extremely special.
So I was recently contacted by The Library Project who were hoping to work with me to bring awareness to their organisation and the amazing work they are doing in Asia.
The Library Project is essentially an organisation that works with orphanages and rural primary schools in Asia to provide them with books and libraries. They have to date conducted 1,800 literacy projects and trained 20,000 librarians.
So today, they asked me to simply talk about my favourite childhood book because the organisation aims to help spark imagination and this is one of the amazing ways that we can sort of connect with our childhoods and just remember how much the books we read as children have impacted us so that we in turn can realise why helping organisations such as The Library Project is so important.
This will probably come as no surprise to any of you but the book that impacted me most as a child was The Secret Island by Enid Blyton.
Four runaways, Mike, Peggy, Nora and Jack, find a secret hiding place—a deserted island on a lovely lake. They build a willow-tree house, make their beds of heather and bracken, and grow their own vegetables. And Jack even manages to bring his cow, Daisy, and some hens to the island for fresh milk and eggs every day! But one day invaders come to the secret island…
This story revolves around four children who decide to run away from their unloving guardians. So they find this island and they slowly start to smuggle items from their home into a little hollow in a tree. Finally, when they are ready, they take a boat across to this island with all their smuggled items and they essentially turn the island into one giant home. They create a pantry for their food, they use branches and hay to create a house, they make outdoor beds for themselves. They even manage to smuggle over a cow and some chickens for milk and eggs and they create a little farm.
The story is one that is just incredibly imaginative and magical. It seems impossible that four young kids should be able to live alone like that but they manage to do it and Enid shows us exactly how they do everything one step at a time so that everything is believable.
As a child, I was (and kind of still am) very imaginative and I lived in my head a lot. I used to build majestic worlds in my head. My plate of food was a playground for miniature children to play in. My picture books came alive and I breathed life into each silly item and created a story for them. My pencils and erasers became two sister running away from the foster care system who found a trailer in the middle of nowhere and who made a home there. And don’t even get me started on my Polly Pocket dolls. Everything had a story in them.
However a theme that I noticed through all of my imaginative rants was the idea of running away. I really don’t know why but somehow my child-like mind always romanticised the idea of running away to a magical forest or a secret world and living out in nature or a fairy’s mushroom. Maybe I read too much Enid Blyton but that was the way it was with me.
So when I read The Secret Island at about perhaps age seven or younger, I felt like Enid Blyton had somehow entered my head and taken my silly fantasies and put it on paper. It made me believe that my ideas of running away and living off the land was not impossible. It made me really see everything that I imagined in a different light.
Till today, The Secret Island remains the book for me. Goodreads tells me that I have read about 450 books in my life and I will still tell you that The Secret Island was the one that impacted me the most (though let’s be real. The Nightingale is still the love of my life).
I hope you guys enjoyed hearing me reminisce and talk about my favourite childhood book. I’m so excited to be working with The Library Project. They are such an awesome organisation and they are doing such great work.
Just to let you guys know, the Library Project actually asked me to see if I could start a chain of bloggers to do this exact same thing to really get as much attention as we could and I just wanted to say thank you to every single person that responded so enthusiastically when I asked.
Thanks to all the support, #TheLibraryProject has become an actual thing and I am so excited about it. I mean we have official landing page for it for goodness sake! So make sure you check out all the other posts that will be going up today because the bloggers and authors working on this with me are such dynamic people and they have such amazing stories to tell.
Hopefully this will not be the last #TheLibraryProject that we do. I’m hoping to do more in the near future because I truly believe in The Library Project. So let me know if you want to participate in the next one and I will very gratefully give you all the information you need.
Also, if you would like to donate to The Library Project, you can do do here.