Throughout November and December, we have been releasing a series of audio bedtime stories that appeal to all ages, providing weekly moments of escapism, creative inspiration and laughter for our followers. As part of this, the Sprung team began to talk about what stories inspire us, and below is a list we have compiled with our favourite books! Have a read and let us know what stories inspire you.
Sarah, Executive Director of Highly Sprung
“Firstly, The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton is a book from my early childhood… Full of imagination and inspiration, you never knew what adventure would be waiting at the top of the tree, from magical fairgrounds to fairy tale lands. All of that and the brilliantly funny folk of the faraway tree. My personal favourite was the very silly Saucepan Man, who was always getting into trouble!
The Promise by Nicola Davies is a beautiful picture book which has inspired many Highly Sprung workshops with young people. It has a powerful message at its heart, of how we are all capable of making great change through even small actions.
Lastly, the Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – an incredible, magical adventure. A haunting love story about a circus that appears and disappears overnight. I think I fell in love with this book from page one, its sense of mystery and anticipation was intoxicating.”
Hayley, Marketing & Comms Assistant
“The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane was a book I read time and time again when I was younger. It tells the story of a toy china rabbit called Edward who has a very easy life, until he suddenly gets lost. Edward ends up being found by a stranger and then gets passed round lots of different owners, from all walks of life. I always loved this book because of how the author beautifully captures the different worlds and lives this rabbit moves through. It also has some amazing illustrations in the book!”
Jade, Trainee Associate Artist
“The Puddle Lane Series by Sheila McCullagh tells magic stories about two children, who meet lots of different characters and animals. I had a very vivid imagination and always liked meeting the Griffle – a very shy monster who sometimes comes out to play. I also liked the ‘wide awake mice’ who lived in the toy shop, as well as the magic box, which the children used to make the annoying Mrs Pitter Patter from down the road dance!”
Emily, Associate Artist
“Handa’s Surprise by Eileen Browne was my absolute favourite book when I was very young. It’s the story of Handa who takes seven different fruits as a gift to her friend, Akeyo. Along the way some cheeky animals steal the fruits, and when a goat butts a tree her basket is filled instead with tangerines! Handa only realises this when giving Akeyo the basket of fruits – but luckily tangerines are Akeyo’s favourite. I feel that this story is quite a timely one for this year: things may not go according to plan, but we can still find the positives if we look hard enough.
I discovered The Arrival by Shaun Tan as an adult. It is a beautiful graphic novel of a man’s journey to a new place, when his home country becomes too dangerous to stay in. The illustrations are such an accurate and visceral depiction of the man’s struggle to assimilate in a new country that it always make me cry. It is somehow deeply descriptive and relatably human without using any words. Shaun Tan creates amazingly detailed and surreal worlds. I go to this book so often for creative inspiration that my version is dog-eared and full of post-it notes. For Physical Fellowship 2019 I choreographed a response to The Arrival with students from Finham Park School – and I’m sure that won’t be the last time I use it to create work!”
Mark, Artistic Director of Highly Sprung
“I’ve always loved stories and remember hating the feeling of having to put the book down before getting to the end. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak tells the story of a naughty little boy called Max who is sent to his room and whilst there, he goes on a big adventure, to a land where the wild things are. I think I loved this book so much because of the possibility of imagination. The fact that Max could go to far distant lands without even leaving his bedroom, just with his imagination. That’s something we try to teach at our youth group, The Sprungs…. and in a world full of Lockdowns and Zoom calls, I think we all need to be a little bit like Max and imagine ourselves in a far distant land.”
“The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy is one of my favourite books that I often read with the kids. It provides lots of discussion points and inspiration and is full of wonderful illustrations.”
When we shared this book on social media, it got a brilliant response and seems to be a firm favourite of our followers! Back in summer this year, the wonderful Emily Robertson created a response to this story – watch it here.
Have you read any of these? What stories inspire you? Let us know, and make sure you listen to our audio bedtime stories here (the perfect thing for the Christmas break!).