World Book Day 2019: The books and characters that inspired us growing up

To celebrate World Book Day, we asked members of the team to tell us which stories or book characters inspired them as a child. 

Meet the team and their literary heroes:


Athena Christodoulou, Digital Marketing Assistant

“I think my favourite character growing up was Matilda because she’s brave, magical and inspired my love of reading.”


Paula Meyer, Senior Management Accountant

“I have such fond memories of my dad reading the Brer Rabbit series to us every night when we were kids.  Such a cheeky character that could always outwit Brer Fox and Brer Bear even though they were faster or stronger than him.  I think its message to kids is so good…. You may be faster or bigger or stronger, but it doesn’t mean you’ll always succeed."

Wind in the Willows

Lis Tribe, Managing Director

One of my favourites was Wind in the Willows with its wide range of characters.  I loved Toad for being so feckless, and Moley for persistence and getting there in the end despite being very short-sighted, which I was (am) too.”

Deborah Noble, Editorial Manager

“I loved the Chronicles of Narnia because I felt that the children in those stories were like real children. They were argumentative and greedy sometimes, but it didn’t mean they couldn’t become heroes and heroines.”

Victoria Goodall, Marketing Director

“I loved Pippi LongstockingPippi Longstocking… She was funny, feisty, independent, resourceful and a bit unpredictable. I thought she was pretty cool, and it was refreshing to read about a girl who didn’t need anyone to help her.

I also loved the Secret Garden – Mary Lennox had a pretty tough start in life, but she turned it round and brought other people with her. She was determined, kind and resourceful and made the world around her a better, happier place – who wouldn’t want to do that?

Harriet the Spy – Harriet loved tomato sandwiches and disliked most things deemed suitable for girls. She kept a detailed diary about people, which resulted in her being ostracized and lonely, so she had to find ways to win back her friends. I remember Harriet being funny and the story was a very realistic look at children and their somewhat bumpy relationships!”

Charlotte's Web
Esther Taylor, Personal Assistant

“Trixie Belden, Anne of Green Gables, Little Women (who DIDN’T want to be Jo!?) Daddy-Long-Legs, Heidi, The BFG and Charlotte’s Web!”

Kristina Hill, Marketing Executive

“My most inspirational book as a child was the Narnia series. I loved the story so much that when I was nine I insisted on me and my brothers going to school book day dressed as the lion, the witch and the wardrobe. Needless to say we won the competition for best dressed siblings – the wardrobe was a work of art.”

Cerys Hadwin-Owen, Publisher

“All of Jacqueline Wilson’s female characters inspired me hugely as a child. Most fiction for children/young women in the ‘90s seemed to be centred around middle-class girls from perfect families going on jolly nice adventures with their well-educated friends!
Jacqueline WilsonJacqueline’s girls had complicated imperfect lives and messy families and were real. Some were in care, some had mothers with mental health issues, some were going through messy divorces, some spent weekdays with their Mums and weekends with their Dads, some suffered from zero body confidence or eating disorders, some were bullied at school, some witnessed domestic violence and spent time in women’s refuges - and most weren’t yet in their teens. What united them all was that none had much money and all came from families who were struggling to get by.
I genuinely felt that nobody else wrote about that world. Jacqueline Wilson made girls feel that there was no one ‘right’ way to be. In fact, most of her leading ladies were seriously broke and facing some big gritty challenges, and yet they were amazing, inspirational, fun, vivid characters with attitude and sparkle.
I’m not sure anyone else writing at that time even began to make ordinary ‘90s girls feel included; I read every book I had until it fell apart.

A total champion for socioeconomic diversity!”

Gary Wigglesworth, Sales ExecutivePeanuts Series

“I like to think I was inspired by Charles M Schultz’s Peanuts series, inspired to be kind, inspired to be more empathetic, inspired to think more deeply about the world - but actually they just made me laugh a lot… but subconsciously? Maybe.

I went to the Peanuts exhibition recently and it made me dig out my books that I’ve had since I was a child”

Nicholas Dunn, International Sales Manager

“Mine was “The SThe Story of Ferdinandtory of Ferdinand” by Munro Leaf. It’s recently been made into a film (which I’ve not seen) but the 1936 original is just a lovely book. The simple message is “be who you are supposed to be”. Ferdinand does not want to fight the other bulls in the ring, but instead prefers to sit in the meadow and smell the flowers. His mother, accepts this and lets him be exactly who he wants to be.”

Claire Withers, Editorial AssistantThe Chronicles of Narnia

“My pick for a book character who inspired me as a child is Lucy Pevensie from The Chronicles of Narnia because she was so brave even when she was afraid. I thought she was brilliant and reading about her fearlessness was inspirational to me as a wee girl”

Cailin Phoenix, Events & Marketing Executive​

“One of my favourites as a child was ‘The Sagas of Noggin the Nog’, by Oliver Postgate and illustrated by Peter FerThe Sagas of Noggin the Nogmin.
Beautifully illustrated, the stories follow the eponymous hero – the brilliantly named Noggin the Nog – and his friends on adventures with ice dragons and flying machines, all the while thwarting the schemes of his evil uncle, the even more brilliantly named Nogbad the Bad.
I never saw the TV programme, but I loved the books – and they no doubt inspired my later interest in all things ‘Viking’!”

To help you celebrate World Book Day with your class, we are giving away a free unit based on an inspirational story each day between 4th-8th March 2019. Find out more here.


Reading and Ebooks

Added to your basket: