To be frank, with two bookworm parents I was always going to wind up a reader. My Mum read to me pretty much from birth onwards and bedtime stories were a big part of my childhood. My Dad is like me and always carries a book around. I decided to pick Redwall though for this category because when I read it aged seven I was very impressed to discover a series where major characters died. This, I felt, was real gritty drama. Except with woodland creatures. To be honest, this and Swallows and Amazons have very similar places in my heart – they are both series that I read independently and I remember feeling excited for the next volume. When it got to The Pearls of Lutra my Mum even let me have the hardback. Nobody at my primary school ever read any of the Redwall books so being a fan felt very exclusive. For part of my Brownies Book Lover badge I had to write to an author, so I wrote to Brian Jacques and got a signed letter and a postcard back. I wrote my own versions of Redwall stories and then acted them out with my Playmobil figures (it wasn’t necessary in my imagination for animals to be involved). This was a real change in the way that I viewed the stories I was reading – it was also when other people began noticing that I had a gift. I had the ability to read very, very fast.