When I Was a Child

Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books

Review

Back in the days before you were born, a Grandma tells her granddaughter, there were elephants in the sky. Grandma describes the world before the magic disappeared: kingdoms under the seas, dancing girls on Mars, and a grand parade of brightness and joy that danced through golden-green fields. Yet the granddaughter insists that magic still lives in the world – faces in the rainbows, birthdays for flowers and huge, strange cat faces in the sky!

David Litchfield brings the soft, bright nostalgia of childhood alive in his stunning depictions of both grandmother and granddaughter’s imagination. Each spread is full of the warm strangeness that permeates the book: a record of the joy of living and seeing magic wherever it lies.

The message, that one is never too old to continue seeing the magic in the world – and that children are the best people to remind grown-ups that magic really does exist everywhere you look – is lovely, as is the depiction of the grandparent-child relationship.

Talking to elders and hearing their memories is so important for children in building a sense of their own identity and developing empathy, and this book captures those "when I was your age" conversations beautifully – and could also prompt sharing many more.

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