Another good question posed by Penguin Books Australia on Facebook to celebrate International Literacy Day: What is the first book you remember reading

I don’t remember my first book, but it must have been a Sooty or Joe 90 Annual (I still have the former, but sadly the latter has long since gone missing).

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

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

In fact, Enid Blyton’s books inspired me to write (and illustrate!) my own adventure book as a ten-year-old: Sand Island!

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?

© 2017 Robert Fairhead 

NB. 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.



Welcome to the blog posts and selected writing of a middle-aged dad and dog owner. Among other things, Robert is an editor and writer at Tall And True, an online magazine, blog and forum for writers, readers and publishers. Share and showcase your writing -- fiction, nonfiction and reviews -- on