The Child That Books Built
A Life in Reading
By Francis Spufford
(Metropolitan Books, Hardcover, 9780805072150, 224pp.)
Publication Date: October 1, 2002
List Price: $23.00*
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A wise and tender tribute to childhood reading and the power of fiction
In this extended love letter to children's books and the wonders they perform, Francis Spufford makes a confession: books were his mother, his father, his school. Reading made him who he is.
To understand the thrall of fiction, Spufford goes back to his earliest encounters with books, exploring such beloved classics as The Wind in the Willows, The Little House on the Prairie, and the Narnia chronicles. He re-creates the excitement of discovery, writing joyfully of the moment when fuzzy marks on a page become words, which then reveal . . . a dragon. Weaving together child development, personal reflection, and social observation, Spufford shows the force of fiction in shaping a child: how stories allow for escape from pain and for mastery of the world, how they shift our boundaries of the sayable, how they stretch the chambers of our imagination.
Fired by humanity, curiosity, and humor, The Child That Books Built confirms Spufford as a profound and original thinker, evoking in the process the marvel of reading as if for the first time.
Francis Spufford, a London-based journalist and critic, is a contributor to Granta and The Guardian. For his first book, I May Be Some Time, he was named the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year and received the 1997 Somerset Maugham and Writers' Guild Awards.