The Naughtiest Girl in the School
By Enid Blyton
I don't choose this just out of a sentimental affection for a book I read as a child, though Blyton was the archcreator of worlds I inhabited in my fantasy life. A lot of adults were scathing about Blyton's lack of stylistic complexity, but this book taught me how deeply enjoyable reading is, and that's what counts, that's what leads one to read more and—it has to be said—better books. It doesn't matter how facile the stories; if as a child you find a book that ignites the imagination, the whole of your life is enriched.