Books have the power to change your life; they can act as a guide or compass or lift your spirits at a difficult time. Most of us will be able to think of at least one book that made a difference to our lives.
On World Book Day the staff at King’s Leadership Academy Hawthornes talk about the books that have influenced them most.
Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling
‘I started reading the Harry Potter series around the age of 8 or 9 and will always remember the excitement of waiting to go to the book shop when the new one was released’
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
‘Atticus Finch proves to his children time and time again that the colour of a person’s skin means nothing; it’s the person inside that counts.’
The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd
‘I have always been a lover of history and this book entwines humour, love, loss, hope and forgiveness whilst exploring the African American experience.’
The Godfather, Mario Puzo
‘Mario Puzo’s The Godfather was the book which got me strange looks aplenty at poolside. I was on a ‘lads holiday’ – age 18 – and honestly spent most of the time engrossed in my book. This re-ignited my joy of reading which had waned in the year or two previous. I also sent the book on to my friend who was in Afghanistan.’
Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
‘Until I got to year 10, I really hadn’t discovered my love of literature then I was placed in a class with the most wonderful and inspiring teacher, Mrs Webb. It was during this time we studied OMAM and this exploration of the predatory nature of human existence changed my life forever.’
Emma, Jane Austin
‘I admit I get irritated when people write off Austen’s novels as mere romances, when there is so much social commentary going on. What struck me anew as I read this book (I think for my fourth time) is how well the idiosyncrasies of each character are observed. So many traits remind me of people I actually know!’
The World’s Fittest Book, Ross Edgeley
‘More than just a training programme or commentary on what you should or shouldn’t eat, this book delves into how training works and the physiological and psychological components that come together to enable success. I love challenge.’
The Van, Roddy Doyle
‘About an unemployed man who buys a van that sells chips. He buys it during the World Cup and spends a few weeks selling chips to people as they watch Ireland win through to the quarter final of the world cup. Funny, emotional and brilliant writing about chips and football.’
Chocky, John Wyndham
‘I picked up Chocky from a shelf at home when I was 10 and read the back of the novel and that was enough to pull me in. Finished it in a matter of days and went on to read all of John Wyndham’s novels. I had found a writer I enjoyed and I was reading because I wanted to rather than because I ought to.’
Love Until It Hurts, Daphne Rae
‘A tribute to the work of Mother Theresa and the Missionaries of Charity. There’s a line from the book that I remember … I have understood the paradox that if you love until it hurts there is no more hurt only love … this is what the Missionaries of Charity are about – selfless giving – and having worked with them myself I have experienced this.
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, Judy Blume
‘I read this book around the time my dad died and a change of high school, at the age of 13. At one of the most stressful and vulnerable ages in my life reading Judy Blume books gave me an opportunity to escape the stresses of my early teenage years.’
The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkein
I found that Tolkien gave me a sense of adventure that left me on the edge of my seat, hastily reading page after page to find out what happens to Bilbo next. It teaches you life lessons and allows you to escape to Middle Earth!