Gransnet forums


LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 03-Jul-14 13:01:12

Me and my granny (book giveaway)

Being the granddaughter of a successful author isn't always easy, as Ottilie Kark knows. Through her grandmother, Nina, Ottilie enjoyed a privileged look into the world of publishing, and saw the on-screen creation of Nina's most famous book - Carrie's War.

Ottillie Kark

Me and my granny

Posted on: Thu 03-Jul-14 13:01:12


Lead photo

Nina and Ottilie on a family holiday.

My granny, Nina Bawden, and I were not always close. When I was six years old I lived with my grandparents in their Islington home while my mother was on tour as a stage manager in Australia and Japan for six months. As I was so close to my mother, being abandoned and left to live with my grandparents made me a very angry little girl.

My granddad would spoil me rotten but my granny was strict and made me brush my teeth and hair. After one big row I stormed upstairs, stomping on each step as I went. I got to my room, which was the very top room, slammed the door and wrote in the biggest writing I could ever do, "Granny is a pig!". I stuck it on my bedroom door and slammed the door extra hard.

A few moments later, granny came up and stood outside my room laughing. I said in a very cross little voice, "What you laughing at?". She then pointed out that the sign I had written actually said "Granny is a pag". Not pig! We laughed a lot about this small mistake and from that moment on we became closer and we started writing a book together called "Granny the Pag". I was very lucky to be so close to my granny in her later years. We only lived twenty minutes away and I would see her nearly every weekend and talk to her every day.

Growing up with an author as a granny you get the privilege, but also the embarrassment, of having them asked to come into your school to talk to your classmates.

Growing up with an author as a granny you get the privilege, but also the embarrassment, of having them asked to come into your school to talk to your classmates. Everyone used to find it exciting that I was related to someone famous, but I would find it embarrassing when she would tell stories about me in assembly... Though looking back on this, it was rather cool! It meant that I was lucky enough to be part of book launches, press nights and, very excitingly, I was able to see the filming of Carrie’s War.

When my mother was growing up she went with my grandparents to see the filming of the 1974 television series and then in 2004 me, my granny and her evacuation friend Jean went to see the filming of the latest version. It was wonderful to be able to see the process and to feel part of this really amazing story has not only lasted for generations, but is also part of my own family history. For Jean and granny to revisit one of the places they were evacuated to, is something I am so pleased to have shared with them.

From Charlotte’s Web to Goodnight Mister Tom, Watership Down to Tarka the Otter, we have a full set of Puffin's 20 beautiful A Puffin Book children's stories to give away, as well as five individual books, all with newly designed covers and previously unseen extras. To enter into the draw, just let us know your favourite childhood books below. Giveaway will end on the 15 July at 5.30pm.

By Ottillie Kark

Twitter: @PuffinBooks

MiniMouse Thu 03-Jul-14 13:39:24

"I Capture the Castle" by Dodie Smith. I loved the idea of such an eccentric lifestyle and how Cassandra matures. Still haven't managed to achieve it myself - work in progress . . . I named our cat after Cassandra! "Wise young judge", still resonates with me.

annodomini Thu 03-Jul-14 13:47:49

Orlando the Marmalade Cat by Kathleen Hale. There was a series all of which were beautifully illustrated and I named my first ginger cat Orlando.

Galen Thu 03-Jul-14 14:05:02

The Bi le. It had lots of words I didn't understand in it , like begat and harlot!

Greenfinch Thu 03-Jul-14 14:18:33

I didn't have a favourite book but my daughter's was "Dogger" by Shirley Hughes and it was published in 1977 a year before she was born .It is about a boy and his stuffed dog which gets lost. It shows how much the loss of a toy can mean to a child and was relevant to my daughter because her favourite toy was a dog which also got lost.

lucid Thu 03-Jul-14 14:28:15

I read lots of Enid Blyton books but my very favourite was 'Brer Rabbit'. I loved the stories - especially Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby. I loved the way that Brer Rabbit outsmarted Brer Fox.

Purpledaffodil Thu 03-Jul-14 19:25:25

Five children and It. By E Nesbit. I loved her stories and didn't realize until I was grown up that they were Edwardian. I also enjoy rereading her books now which is a sign of a good children's book I believe.

glassortwo Thu 03-Jul-14 19:43:30

My favourite childhood books were Enid Blyton The Circus series, it came at a time in my childhood where the idea of running away with the circus was very desirable.

grandma60 Thu 03-Jul-14 20:00:34

Enid Blyton again. The Twins at St Claires and Malory Towers. I bought them all for my daughter when she was about 10 and read them all again myself.

Maggiemaybe Thu 03-Jul-14 21:02:53

Oh, so many! Including Enid Blyton of course, especially Malory Towers, but also The Bobbsey Twins by Laura Lee Hope, A Country Child by Alison Uttley, The Family at One End Street and a whole series of books about famous people when they were children - The Young Victoria/Anna Pavlova/Florence Nightingale, etc. I've no idea who published these but I devoured the lot, and was thrilled when a new one appeared in our little local library.

mcem Thu 03-Jul-14 21:53:01

Loathed Enid Blyton! Even at 9 I decided the stories were repetitve and formulaic (but didn't see it in those terms). That probably puts me out of the running! For some reason I can't quite fathom, I loved Pollyanna! Lots of trips to the library for Dr Doolittle books. When, as an adult, I discovered the Chronicles of Narnia, I was angry with my mum for not introducing me to them at the appropriate age.

hushpuppie Thu 03-Jul-14 22:09:24

the hungry catapillar was my favourite by eric carle

handbar Thu 03-Jul-14 22:12:54

I could not get enough of Enid Blyton. As soon as I finished one I was off to the local library to borrow another. So exciting and escapist to me as a child.

Agus Thu 03-Jul-14 22:25:20

I read most of,the above popular children's books but one of the first that made the biggest impression on me was Heidi by Johanna Spyri, I was completely drawn in to her first meeting with her grandfather, the straw bed he made for her in his cabin, her time spent with Peter and being a companion to Katy. In my imagination I could see all of,it.

Aged 62, whilst visiting friends in St Gallen in Switzerland, we talked about the book and I was delighted to find we were not far from Maienfeld where Heidi's House is now a major tourist attraction. I had to visit and whilst there, bought the book for DGs who loved the story too.

Another runner up was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I definitely wanted to be Jo!

rubysong Thu 03-Jul-14 22:29:15

All the Beatrix Potter books, but I suppose my favourite would probably be the tale of Tom Kitten, who was made into a roly poly pudding.

peterhall Thu 03-Jul-14 22:30:37

The Famous Five

gamerwidow Thu 03-Jul-14 22:30:48

The Folk of the Faraway Tree

edds44 Thu 03-Jul-14 22:32:01

My favourite was called Milly, Molly, Mandy, I've no idea who wrote it though! I also liked the Peter Rabbit books and it's great to now read them to my grandson

Tkw2014 Thu 03-Jul-14 22:38:25

Lots of favourites through the the dog and the hungry caterpillar, moving onto the magic faraway tree, Malory towers, and as a teen sweet valley high stories!

valbuk Thu 03-Jul-14 22:46:57

As a small child I loved the Sam Pig stories by Alison Uttley and later I read and reread The Children of the New Forest by Frederick Marryat

andywedge Thu 03-Jul-14 22:49:44

There was a book called 'The King & The Ghost'. I loved it more than any other book I had. I have never been able to find a copy though since I grew up. Gutted.

pamelaJEAN Thu 03-Jul-14 22:59:59

My favourite childhood books were The Family From One End Street by Eve Garnett, a mum and dad with 7 children , life was very hard for the family, but they were happy, a lot like my childhood, we didnt have a lot of money, but my mum and dad did their best for us... so I think I related a lot to this book.

Scooter58 Thu 03-Jul-14 23:11:38

Dad used to read me Brer Rabbit,also Black Beauty,which I adored,as I got older I enjoyed Enid Blyton famous five .

Tegan Thu 03-Jul-14 23:15:32

Lad a Dog; a picture book...sadly thrown away by my mum leaving me desperate to see it again. Also Ghost Horse by Joseph E Chipperfield. I read most of his animal books but Ghost Horse was my favourite. When I managed to buy a copy through a book search it was as if I'd only just put it down and I sobbed my heart out. andywedge; I hope you find your book one day..I search car boot sales and second hand book shops for Lad but to no avail. I have seen similar books on the internet but not the actual book I want sad.

durhamjen Thu 03-Jul-14 23:15:39

I have a copy of What Katy Did, which was given to me the Christmas when I was six, and Alice in Wonderland and Alice through the Looking Glass, when I was seven. I preferred the Alice books and learned all the poems off by heart.