Happy 80th birthday to Puffin Books



I was excited to see that Puffin Books are celebrating their 80th anniversary this year.  O halcyon days of the Puffin Club and Puffin Post!  From little kids’ books like “My Naughty Little Sister” and “The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark”, to lifelong Girls’ Own favourites like the Little House books, “Ballet Shoes” and the Kingscote series, to Puffin Classics such as “Little Women” and “Heidi”, to Puffin Plus books like the Kevin and Sadie series and “Fifteen” … life would have been very different with no Puffins.  Even schools approved of them, which they rarely did with Armadas.  Our lovely third year infants teacher used to read us Roald Dahl books and Puffin short stories, and we did “Carrie’s War”, “The Crown of Violet” and “Across The Barricades” in our first two years at secondary school.   Happy Oak Anniversary, Puffin!

I read zillions of books when I was a kid, and I’d be lying if I said I could remember exactly which ones were Puffins, which were Armadas, which were Granadas, which were Fontana Lions (sounds like a rugby team) and which were Piccolos, or indeed anything else, but certainly an awful lot of them were Puffins.  Quick look at the bookshelves … as well as the ones I’ve already mentioned, “Charlotte Sometimes” is a Puffin, as are the Carbonel books, as is “Anne of Green Gables”, as are most of the Noel Streatfeilds; but there were hundreds more that I read back in the day.  Penguin Books have played such an important role in developing the paperback market and making literature affordable, and Puffin Books, their children’s section, have played a big part in many children’s lives over the past 80 years.  Long may they continue to do so!

I write a lot because it helps me to deal with anxiety.  If I can’t actually be writing but I’m finding things difficult, usually because I’m Trapped at work where there’s no quiet, people-free space to go to, I can think about what I’m going to write.  Then I feel guilty about spending ages writing things that hardly anyone’s going to read, worry that I’m annoying people by posting too many things on social media, and panic that I’ve said something that the few people who’ll read it might take offence at, but you can’t have everything!   Books help you to escape without having the guilt/worry/panic issues, but it’d look a bit obvious if I whipped a book out of my bag at work.

However, in childhood, there’s a lot more time to read.  Well, there isn’t if you’re a super-active kid and or a super-social kid, but there was if you were me.  It wasn’t just about escapism: it was about learning, and it was also about simple enjoyment.  Now, in the days of internet fora, it’s also about bonding with other book-lovers.  Children’s books are so important, and so many of the ones I read – and, in some cases, still read – were/are Puffins.  Thank you, Puffin xxx.  And happy birthday.