The Thursday Review: World Book Day Special

I’m loath to do two posts in a row not reviewing a first-time read, but as today is World Book Day, I want to do something for that instead.


Image © World Book Day.

As such, here’s a short list of some books from my childhood and adolescence and how they affected me.


1) “Each Peach Pear Plum” by Janet and Allan Ahlberg


Image © cover artist/publisher.

This was possibly the first book that made a significant impact on my life. It was one of three or so that my dad would read to me before bed, deliberately getting the words wrong to make me and my brother laugh, and I feel warm inside whenever I think about it.


2) The Mallory Towers books by Enid Blyton


Image © cover artist/publisher.

My copies of these books are old – they were my mum’s childhood books before mine – and they’re in terrible shape, but I still love them. As a child and awkward teenager, these books were a safe and innocent place where endings were always happy and I could hide from the difficulties I faced in life.


3) “Northern Lights” by Philip Pullman


Image © cover artist/publisher.

When I was a child, my mum didn’t work during the summer holidays and she would spend hours reading to me and my brother while we played Gameboys or just lay around and listened, and this was one of the first books she chose for us. Those times were some of the happiest of my childhood and this book always brings them back for me.


4) The Saga of Darren Shan by Darren Shan


Image © cover artist/publisher.

I bought “Cirque du Freak” out of mild curiosity. Then I bought the next two books. And then I bought the remaining nine books in the series off Amazon because I was hooked. The intrigue, snappy pacing and excellent horror elements made Darren Shan one of my favourite authors throughout my teens and I still love his work today.


5) “Kelp” by Linda Aronson


Image © cover artist/publisher.

I got this for free, although I forget where from, and it was one of the best free gifts I ever got in my life. Aronson’s awkward teenage protagonist and her desperate unrequited love for an older man have always hit home for me and I love re-reading this book again and again.


6) “Noughts & Crosses” by Malorie Blackman


Image © cover artist/publisher.

A story of prejudice, hate and love that has stuck with me for years, this book has incredibly relatable characters and was both a joy to read and quite difficult in places. One of the first books I ever read that tackled ideas of racism, I’d definitely recommend this to any young adult reader.


7) The Animorphs series by K.A. Applegate


Image © cover artist/publisher.

Although I didn’t read all of them, the Animorphs books were funny, heart-rending, terrifying and exciting in turns with a diverse cast and true moral dilemmas. These are the sort of books that you read years later and say, “This was for kids?!”


But what about you? Which books affected you most when you were young? Let me know in the comments!

~ Penny

Related Post: The Thursday Review: “Storm Front” by Jim Butcher – Throwback Thursday

Want to get in touch? E-mail me (, message me on Facebook, send me a tweet (@pennygotch) or leave a comment!

Available Books

Solo: Under the Tree / Dark Heart / Write Nothing

Collab: Personal is Political

Images © Penny Gotch (, Liam Whear, Susan Wright and Molly Penford.


Filed under 2017 Posts, book reviews

2 responses to “The Thursday Review: World Book Day Special

  1. Reblogged this on Smile Circulation and commented:
    Great selection here

  2. Pingback: The Thursday Review: “Falling Man” by Don DeLillo | Penny Gotch – Writer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s