Hello Reading Force families! I'm Emma, I'm a Pad Brat and I write blogs for Reading Force about reading and Forces life.
Last month I spontaneously decided to visit my old quarter in Wiltshire. The first thing to note is something exclusive to Forces children – our houses are secret! Yes, try searching your house on google maps, often they can’t be found. Take a look at this picture of my old house:
It was a quiet Saturday morning when I arrived, and I entered the area with trepidation. The houses were not on a barracks but I was still slightly concerned I may get in trouble for entering MOD property without permission!
I carried on regardless, gripping my ID and my phone in my hand in case I needed them. I turned the corner to see my old house and with some luck, out of all the gardens, the only one with children playing in was mine! I walked over to introduce myself to the two children, a ten year old girl who lived in the house, her boy best friend who lived next door, and their parents. In typical Forces fashion, they invited me inside to see how much (and how little) the house had changed.
Seeing inside, I was flushed with memories, from the dining room where we had our first home computer, to the shed where we stored our bikes every evening after playing out with our friends. The feelings were bittersweet – I had the happiest childhood, where there were always friends nearby and we felt safe and loved by the community. I longed for it in that moment, but then I looked at my house’s young, new occupant and the boy next door and I was so pleased that the Armed Forces community are still raising their children to be friendly, safe and loved.
After the tour, I thanked the family and left them to enjoy their day and continued to wander around the area and through to the local village. What struck me most from my visit was that back when I was posted from the area in 2000 I remember feeling very sad that I hadn’t done enough there – that there was still so much left to explore, but as an adult I managed to walk around the entire area, and the local village in a day! It just goes to show that just because you leave somewhere, doesn’t mean it’s forever, there’s always more time to explore if you really want to.
My visit got me thinking of books about nostalgia and growing, so here’s a list of my favourite books about growing up:
Now We Are Six by A A Milne
A lovely poem that appeals to adults as much as children. The illustrations by E H Shephard are gorgeous too.
The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
Perhaps not everyone’s idea of growing up, but Pinocchio the puppet does grow up by becoming a real boy. There’s more to this tale than the Disney film, read it to see for yourself.
Peter Pan by J M Barrie
What’s better than growing up? Not growing up! The book is a great bedtime story and really sparks the imagination.
For older readers:
Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret by Judy Blume
The definitive coming of age novel for young girls talking about puberty, friendship and culture.
Then Again, Maybe I Won’t by Judy Blume
Another Blume novel, but this time focussing on a boy’s experience of growing up. Despite the fact I am a girl, I enjoyed both the boy’s book and the girl’s book growing up and think both books can be read by both gender!
That's all for now.