Today, Úna Clifford-Bahcecik tells us about sharing her love of reading with her children, Maya & Orhan. Between Mr Gum books and Roald Dahl, childhood imagination is kindled.

We are an Irish-Turkish family living in Luxembourg with two fabulous kids – Maya, aged 8 and Orhan aged 6. Reading every evening is one of those family traditions we established early on and somehow it just stuck. Even now, when the kids could be off in their rooms reading by themselves, we tend to gather around a book in the evening. There is something about a story shared as a family that is just hard to beat.

For me personally, I have always seen books as a form of paper gold. There is no problem that a good book can’t solve, and no end of good books to lend that helping hand. When my husband complains that I spend too much time reading, I try to explain that while no one could ever replace him, reading was my first love!

It took us some time to come up with our family favourite book. A good friend recently introduced us to the Mr Gum series, and those hysterical tales, jam-packed with linguistic craziness and magic around every corner made them a very close contender. But, in the end, we decided only a Roald Dahl could do.

Danny the Champion of the World is simply a heart-melter of a novel. I had long since forgotten it when we popped the disc into the radio of my car earlier this year. Danny is a young lad who lives a quiet, if somewhat unusual life, alone with his father in an old gypsy caravan in the woods. Danny’s father owns the local filling station and he is quite simply the centre of Danny’s world. It is safe to say, the feeling is quite mutual.

Life meanders on a usual until suddenly, in the depths of the night, Danny wakes to find his father’s bunk empty. Little does Danny know it, but he is about to discover a secret about his father which would lead the pair into the most unusual adventure of their lives. Over poaching stories with Doc Spencer, raisin needlework, and prams stuffed to the gills with pheasants, this father and son duo become closer than ever.

It is hard to think of a book that exudes more love and admiration between a child and parent than Danny the Champion of the World. I reckon we made a pretty good choice, which might explain why we sat in the car listening to this book for quite some time one evening, long after we had parked outside our home.

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