Joan Aiken discovered as a solitary small child that reading was one of the most wonderful ways to make friends, a way of spending time with another person whenever you needed company. In a way it is like being alone with them when they are alone. Reading is a way of taking time off from your own life, or problems, and entering another mind, another world. Once you have experienced this, books are like friends, who you will never forget, and who you can spend time with everyday.
And the same goes for grown-ups too! As she wrote in a piece for International Children’s Book Day fifty years ago:
“If every single person in the world had a book – just one book – and they’d have to be able to read it of course – we’d have a lot less trouble.”
PS. Rather nice to know that for Joan it was a comfort to know that Wednesday followed Thursday…? Only in her world!
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