Holiday Reading Then and Now

photo copyright Hazel Edwards

Therese and Kath sneaking in for a second to say Happy Thanksgiving to our U.S. readers!

As it’s heading into the festive season, I want to do something a bit special this month, and look both back and forward to the joys of childhood holiday reading, in both my own words and those of three writer friends to whom I put these questions: what books do you most remember from this time? And what are your recommendations for a modern child’s Christmas/ Thanksgiving/ Hanukkah/ seasonal gift list?

In our house, we children mostly borrowed books from the library but at Christmas and birthdays we were given books of our own, and that made them extra special. Some of the ones that stand out in my mind were a beautiful edition of Les Malheurs de Sophie (Sophie’s Misfortunes) by the classic French author the Countess de Ségur—because I knew I was named after her, but also because it was so much fun!)the Tintin series, which was added to every year (all five of us children got a different book of the series so we cold swap around afterwards), and The Hill of the Red Fox, by Allan Campbell MacLean, a wonderful adventure set in the Highlands of Scotland. These are all still books I regularly re-read. And a book on art which I pored over for ages—it was not at all the sort of thing I’d have chosen, on my own, but I really loved it and it’s still on my shelves and has inspired many a story.

There’s lots of new books I could recommend, but I don’t want to go on too long, so I’ll just list one: Fiona McDonald’s lovely, nostalgic black-and white illustrated novel for younger readers(say 7-11 year olds but great for reading aloud too), about a doll touched by the magic of starlight and her stray-cat friend, Ghost Doll and Jasper(Sky Pony Press, 2012). And now for the lists of the three wonderful authors I’m featuring, all Australians, but all published internationally as well, and who have written for both children and adults: Kate Forsyth, Richard Harland and Hazel Edwards.
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