Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832 – 1898): English writer, mathematician & photographer
I can’t go back to yesterday – because I was a different person then.
~ Lewis Carroll
I loved Lewis Carroll as a child! Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland were a firm favourite of mine. When I was 10 years old, I was involved in a school production of this well-known tale, in which I played the part of Alice. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it!
The idea that a hidden world of talking animals, and ridiculous characters could be find down a rabbit hole, or through a mirror, sent my imagination into overdrive. Even today, I can still easily fall into Wonderland, and enjoy the absurdness of it all.
I am always a fan of escapism and fantasy, which these tales deliver by the bucket load. The simple words of wisdom and common sense, in a world which at face-value seems devoid of both, is (to me) an example of exceptional story-telling.
Philip Pullman (1946) – English writer
What is worth having is worth working for.
Philip Pullman was another author I discovered in my High School library. I first came across his Sally Lockhart series when I was about 12. I completely fell in love with her. Also, this was the first time that I can actually remember crying over a book (although I won’t tell you why, because *spoilers*).
I later discovered his Dark Materials trilogy, and again fell in love with these vibrant, flawed characters. I loved the idea of Dust, and Other Worlds, and was completely obsessed with trying to figure out what my Daemon would be! This is also the only series where I actually prefer the second book to the first.
I loved the detail he was able to get across of what was really a very complicated narrative. So many worlds, characters, and points of view (POV)! Pullman’s books didn’t just offer a form of escapism, or an emotional attachment – they also made me think. These series’ were both considerably darker than anything I had read before, and opened my eyes, and mind to the fact that the world is not always a safe place.
I’m looking forward to the next installment that has been recently announced for future release, which I believe gives more insight into Dust!
Tamora Pierce (1954) – American Writer of MG/YA Fantasy
Every now and then I like to do as I’m told, just to confuse people.
Tamora Pierce is one of my all time favourite authors. I first stumbled across her books in my high school library, at the tender age of 11. I believe it was the Song of the Lioness series I read first, quickly followed by the Circle of Magic books.
These are stories that I can read time and again, and never get tired of. I love the characters, I love the worlds she creates, I love the adventures and conflicts. I love how her heroines and heroes are flawed, and often stubborn. I love the mix of magic and nature, and am pretty sure it was her work which first inspired my current WIP.
The idea that a girl could do anything a boy could, struck a nerve with me. Previously, stories had always seemed to reinforce gender stereotypes, and as a girl who had been raised surrounded by boys, I struggled to accept this idea. I loved how strong her heroines were – they were warriors! Magicians! Powerful sorceresses who were able to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their male counterparts! They stood up for what they believed in, they learned from their mistakes, and were not forced to chose between being true to who they were, and falling in love.
If my stories can inspire just one young girl, in the way that Tamora Pierce inspired me, I will consider myself a success.
Clive Staples Lewis: (1898 – 1963) British writer & Academic
I can’t imagine someone really enjoying a book and reading it only once.
~ C.S. Lewis
Another of my favourite book sets as child was C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. I adore anything fantasy, and I’m pretty sure my love for this genre started on my first adventure with the Pevensie children.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was the first story I read in the series. The idea of talking animals, eternal winter and mythical creatures was absolute heaven to me.
Over the years I discovered the other books in the series, and later came to love the film adaptations too. I’m pretty sure/hopeful that I still have the box-set I owned as a child, storied away somewhere in my parents garage. Hopefully, one day they, and all the other books I seem to keep hoarding, will bring as much joy to future generations as they did to me.
Walter Elias Disney: (1901-1966)
All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.
~ Walt Disney
I know it’s probably a little cliché, and massively uncool, to admit that I’m a Disney fan at nearly 30, but I don’t care. Disney movies never failed to entertain me as a child and can still awaken that child-like joy in me today.
I dressed up as one of the 101 Dalmations for fancy dress day at school. One of the few perks of being sick was getting to snuggle up on the couch watching Disney movies. One of my sisters is still ‘sick to the back teeth’ of Peter Pan because of the number of times I made her watch it!
There are so many to chose from but my favourite animated films from childhood include:
- Peter Pan (obviously)
- The Lion King
- Jungle Book
- Alice in Wonderland
- Robin Hood
- The Aristocats
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Other favourites that aren’t animated include: Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Hocus Pocus, Cool Runnings and James & the Giant Peach.
Obviously there have been equally amazing films brought out this century (Zootopia & Inside Out being two of my personal favourites), but I wanted to give special attention to those that influenced me as a child.
They helped shape my imagination. They taught to me think outside of my own world. They opened my mind to the weird and the wonderful. They taught me to love the outcast, root for the underdog, embrace my own oddities and forgive others’ flaws.
I love Disney. Not the princesses and love stories (they were never my favourites, although I wouldn’t say no to the library in Beauty & the Beast….) – but the struggles, the lessons, and the relatable triumphs over life and self. Things I still look for in movies and books decades later.