Mellany Robinson lives on the South Coast with her two children. Having worked in the creative industries (advertising, photography) and with various museums including the V&A and The National Gallery she decided to set up a children’s publishing company with her childhood friend Annabel Bennetts. By Parents For Children encourages parents to make the stories they tell their children a reality just as Mellany and Annabel (pictured above) have done with their first book Millie’s Mayday part of a new series of stories from Haven Harbour.
Here is her list of favourite children’s books …
I have compiled a list for you (in no particular order) of inspirational books. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it — it brought back some lovely memories!
Happy Owls by Celestino Piatti
I bought this for my son’s first birthday and I hope he will keep it always. It has really strong, bold illustrations typical of Piatti’s work. Also, the story is one with a pure and beautiful message: that we have the ability to live in peace together, if we choose to.
The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner
This one I picked up as an eight year old at my school jumble sale. I was attracted by the illustration of the man on the cover and wasn’t dissapointed. This story has a a strange undercurrent running through it and completely caught me up in a world where past, present and future meet. Alan Garner is an overlooked writer and I would urge anyone with an interest in the unusual to seek him out. His other stories, such as The Owl Service and Red Shift are classics too.
Ratsmagic – Wayne Anderson
Sublime imagery — very gothic and executed with extraordinary attention to detail, and all pre-computers!
The Tyger Voyage by Nicola Bayley
Again, whisks you off to a different world (as all good books should!). I got lost in its pages as a child and the illustrations served as starting points for my own imagination. They were all painted with frames around them and I liked to imagine what was beyond their boundaries…
The House at Pooh Corner by A A Milne
I remember my Mum reading this to me at bedtime. The language in the Winnie-the-Pooh books is so playful and inventive and my own children really appreciate the singular humour too. E H Shephard’s illustrations are masterful, I love studying the tiny illustrations and wonder at his draughtsmanship.
Masquerade by Kit Williams
This is such an innovative book that caused a real craze when it was published. Truly interactive in its blending of fantasy and reality – I really believed that I would discover the golden hare buried by the author and spent happy times trying to work out the riddles in the book with my parents. The illustrations are wonderfully decadent.
La Corona and the Tin Frog by Russell Hoban and Nicola Bayley
I liked the cleverness of this as a child. The story is based around a tin frog who falls in love with a princess in a book and manages to squeeze through the printed pixels to join her in the story.With more wonderful illustrations from Nicola Bayley.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
A really poetic book which creates a magical world. Although very much of its time, with some antiquated views, it is brilliantly imagined and the characters are very well realised.
Watership Down by Richard Adams
I was absolutely mad on this (I also loved the film and ‘Bright Eyes’ by Art Garfunkel – they had me hook, line and sinker!) Quite complex in its description of the different characters and with a lovely, mythical element woven through.
anything by Richard Scarry
I used to spend hours looking at these and marvelling at their detail. I still seek them out as gifts for children now: the best books really do span the generations!