Julia Marshall is a publisher of very fine and very delicious children books from all round the world (and New Zealand). The books are always divinely illustrated, the words make heavenly music and the stories keep you curled up in a chair reading, again and again. See Gecko Press here.
Julia agreed to answer some questions about her reading life as a child:
As a child, I read everywhere. In the bath, in bed, on the stairs, at lunch, in class, outside, inside.
I liked books about small people: The Borrowers and The Littles, and horse books, and Mrs Pepperpot, and Lassie, and Dr Doolittle and Mary Poppins and The Secret Garden. Typical books, I guess. Later I liked The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner and Catcher in the Rye. Earlier I liked Borka the goose with no feathers and Ping. We also grew up with Winnie the Pooh and When I was Six. We all know those in my family.
Did you have a favourite illustrator? I thought Babar was a really good illustrator…
What did the library mean to you? We used to get lots of books at once from the library, but not once a week or anything. I think we must have passed books around a lot. I don’t remember running out of books.
Do you remember being read to? I remember my sister being read King Arthur and we shared a room so I could hear it too. She loved King Arthur. I am reading it again and I like it better now. I was read to, I know, so it is a shame that I don’t remember. I do remember learning to read the School Journal and to write Os.
Was there a book that stood out that a teacher read to you? I remember a man who was visiting us who asked me what I was reading and I said I couldn’t finish it, because it was sad. He told me it was good to keep reading even if a story wasn’t happy, because not all good stories are happy ones and sometimes stories could be happy and sad both. I don’t know who he was, but I did finish the book. And I never forgot him saying that – it changed my reading I think.
Who hooked you on reading? My family all love reading and they notice words. I had an uncle who taught English at University, and he sent me books. I don’t think I had to be hooked. We just read.
Do you still read children’s books? Do you have a favourite this week? I mostly read children’s books, but just this week I am reading an adult book. Last week I read King Arthur and I reread Sally Gardner’s I Coriander, and a book by Carole Wilkinson. I am not always good at knowing the titles of what I am reading…