What were your favorite books when you were a kid?
I read all the time when I was a kid. I read when I should have been doing my homework. I read when I should have been listening in class. After all, time is precious—no reason to waste it. (But my teachers, somehow, did not see it that way.)
I read a lot of books kids still read today. Some favorites were the Green Gables books, the Little House books, the Narnia Chronicles, the Wrinkle in Time books. Other favorites, though, were by British authors. You'll find some of these in American libraries and bookstores, but others are either out of print or only published in Britain. Some of them were funny (hilarious!) fantasy-adventures, such as The Land of Green Ginger (Noel Langley), Once on a Time (A. A. Milne), Carbonel (Barbara Sleigh), and The Magic Pudding (Norman Lindsay). Others, more serious, were The Twilight of Magic (Hugh Lofting), The Dolls' House (Rumer Godden), The Princess and the Goblin (George MacDonald), and Mistress Masham's Repose (T. H. White). I see that I could go on and on, so I'll have to make myself stop, but I can't neglect to mention two more favorites (American and funny) that I read again and again: Black and Blue Magic (Zilpha Keatley Snyder) and The Pushcart War (Jean Merrill).
Really, I'm going to stop, but I guess I have to mention the myths and fairytales I so loved—I devoured the Norse myths, for example, and all the colors of the Andrew Lang fairytale collections. I was especially fond of Hans Christian Andersen (in particular, The Snow Queen and The Little Mermaid). And the fantasies of E. Nesbit and Edward Eager . . . Okay, I'm done now.
(And the Moomintroll books . . .)
(And Heidi . . .)
What do you like to read now?
I like exactly the same kinds of books, but of course, lots of new books have been published since I was a kid. I have discovered the wonderful Diana Wynne Jones; I especially like her Fire and Hemlock, Dogsbody, and Howl's Moving Castle. Another few examples are Which Witch (Eva Ibbotson); Playing Beatie Bow (Ruth Park); The Perilous Gard (Elizabeth Marie Pope); and Beauty (Robin McKinley).
What's your favorite book?
I can't answer that. There are so many books I love—and so many different kinds of books. It's like asking me to choose between pizza and ice cream. How could I possibly choose between them? They're so delicious, each in its own way: hot and cold, salty and sweet. I'll take them both, thanks!