To celebrate International Literacy Day 2017, Penguin Books Australia asked on Facebook: What is the first book you remember reading?

While I don’t recall reading my first book, it must have been a Sooty or Joe 90 Annual. I still have a worn copy of Sooty (handed down to my son), but sadly the boy spy Joe 90 went AWOL long ago.

I lived with my grandparents as a kid, and they had kept my father’s Film Fun Annuals from the 1940s. And I recall reading the comic-book style stories about Laurel and Hardy and Abbott and Costello et al.

Enid Blyton Inspiration

As for “chapter books”, I read my father’s Biggles’ adventure stories (“Chocks away, Algy!”), and I loved reading Enid Blyton’s adventure series, the Secret Seven and Famous Five.

And the Famous Five inspired me to write and illustrate a Blyton-esque adventure book as a ten-year-old, Sand Island — I still have the treasured first-and-only edition.

Share Your Writing on

So while I don’t remember the first book I read. I do remember the first book I wrote 45 years ago! 

What about you? What’s the first book you remember reading?

© 2017 Robert Fairhead 

N.B. You might also be interested in this blog post, The Gorilla Hunters by RM Ballantyne (March 2018). It’s about one of my father’s first books.

This post was proofread by Grammarly


Welcome to the blog posts and selected writing of Robert Fairhead. A writer and editor at the Tall And True writers' website, Robert also writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads podcast. In addition, his book reviews and other writing have appeared in print and online media, and he's published several collections of short stories. Please see Robert's profile for further details.


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