The Child That Books Built by Francis Spufford
A Life in Reading

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A wise and tender tribute to childhood reading and the power of fiction

In this extended love letter to children's books and the wonders they perform, Francis Spufford makes a confession: books were his mother, his father, his school. Reading made him who he is.

To understand the thrall of fiction, Spufford goes back to his earliest encounters with books, exploring such beloved classics as The Wind in the Willows, The Little House on the Prairie, and the Narnia chronicles. He re-creates the excitement of discovery, writing joyfully of the moment when fuzzy marks on a page become words, which then reveal . . . a dragon. Weaving together child development, personal reflection, and social observation, Spufford shows the force of fiction in shaping a child: how stories allow for escape from pain and for mastery of the world, how they shift our boundaries of the sayable, how they stretch the chambers of our imagination.

Fired by humanity, curiosity, and humor, The Child That Books Built confirms Spufford as a profound and original thinker, evoking in the process the marvel of reading as if for the first time.

About Francis Spufford

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Francis Spufford, a London-based journalist and critic, is a contributor to Granta and The Guardian. For his first book, I May Be Some Time, he was named the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year and received the 1997 Somerset Maugham and Writers' Guild Awards.
Published October 8, 2002 by Metropolitan Books. 224 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Young Adult, Literature & Fiction, Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Children's Books, Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction

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Reflecting years later on Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, for instance, he sees the ending (Max returns from the imagined jungle to find the supper he was denied as punishment waiting in his bedroom, “and it was still hot”) as unsatisfying since it “took away the risk from it all.” Arriving a...

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The Guardian

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The Child that Books Built: A Memoir of Childhood and Reading Francis Spufford 214pp, Faber, £12.99 Appropriately enough for a book that sets out to explore the problematic relationship between the self and what it reads, Spufford has written a genre-busting text.

Mar 30 2002 | Read Full Review of The Child That Books Built: A...

The Guardian

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The Child that Books Built Francis Spufford Faber & Faber £12.99, pp244 The idea that as adults we inhabit an imaginative world shaped by our childhood reading, or that it's the books we read before the age of, say, 15 that will lingeringly influence our adult consciousness and self-expression is...

Mar 03 2002 | Read Full Review of The Child That Books Built: A...

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