“So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: “You are not alone.”

Keeping Roald Dahl’s quote from Matilda close as today it’s submissions day for The Cartographer’s Daughter. As the wait begins, it’s nice to step back and remember that books like his are why I wanted to write my own.
This quote descibes exactly how I felt growing up – books were ships or lights or doors to open, follow and explore. As my mum always says, “You’re never alone with a book”, and, as it is for everyone, growing up was sometimes very hard. The following books and authors were the biggest ships on my horizon throughout my childhood and beyond. I’ve largely left out YA – that’s a whole other post!
Alan Garner – The Owl Service and Red Shift
Anne Fine – The Tulip Touch and Flour Babies
David Almond – Skellig and My Name is Mina
Diana Wynn-Jones – Christomanci series
Dick King-Smith all but especially the Sophie series and The Crowstarver
Eloise McGraw – The Moorchild
Eoin Colfer – Artemis Fowl series and The Wish List
Eva Ibbotson – Journey to the River Sea and Which Witch?
Jacqueline Wilson – The Illustrated Mum and Girls Under Pressure
JK Rowling – Harry Potter series, especially …Philosopher’s Stone and …Goblet of Fire
Judith Kerr – When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit and The Tiger Who Came to Tea
Julia Bell – Massive
Julia Clarke – The Starling Tree
SnicketA Series of Unfortunate Events series
Louis Sanchar – Holes
Michael Morpurgo – all but especially The Butterfly Lion and Kensuke’s Kingdom
Odo Hirsch – Bartlett and the Ice-Voyage
Philip Pullman – His Dark Materials trilogy, The Firework-maker’s Daughter and The Tiger in the Well
Roald Dahl – all but especially Matilda, The TwitsJames and the Giant Peach, Esio Trot and (later) Skin & Other Stories.
I have read many other wonderful children’s books  in more recent years, but the biggest revelation has been Cathrynne M. Valente’s The Girl Who… series. They are funny, brilliantly crafted, and scarily imaginative. Anyone who thinks children’s books are just for children would be converted by the end of a chapter!