A unique and very American view of the phenomena of British children’s stories is also the most frequently stolen library book in the United States – I Know How The Heather Looks by Joan Bodger. Twenty years or so ago I had the opportunity to interview Mrs. Joan Bodger and she described writing that book as “catching a story on a wing.” And what a lovely wing it was.
It’s the true story of what happened when her and her husband, young American parents of a boy and girl, were left a modest bequest not too long after the Second World War. What to do with it? What they did do was something nobody thought of before. They decided to squander it all by taking their children on a tour of the actual locations on the other side of the Atlantic which influenced many of the great English children’s stories they were reading.
Read the book by the fire this winter. Or take it along if you vacation somewhere warm and take it in along with the sun. Because the story gets you wondering, as mayhaps no other will, what you yourself can do to encourage a sense of adventure and spontaneity in your own children. Instill a love of the English language. Of stories.