Philippa Pearce
Guy Lochhead, 15/02/12
English author of children’s books most famous for Tom’s Midnight Garden. She started writing after a long period of illness tuberculosis in 1951 meant she spent a long time recreating an important canoe trip she took as a child. This attention to detail and awareness of childhood feelings is evident in her work, and her characters are grounded in that same sort of outdoorsiness. Pearce’s books might be old-fashioned in their language but the sentiment and values are timeless. Her descriptive writing is subtle and vivid. She understands the inward feelings of children – secret guilt, that particular mix of terror and excitement, awe, boredom – but her books don’t entirely pander to that audience; they develop at their own, unhurried pace, with the clarity of purpose of an adult. Her writing is concerned with nature and our place in it, and I think it could spark a love of the outdoors in any child with patience. This is super-important. I will include Tom’s Midnight Garden and A Dog So Small.

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