What was your favourite childhood book and why?
When I was twenty-one, Andrew Lang’s Blue Fairy Book came with me by ship, over 8000 miles, from South Africa to England. I still have it. Those tales carried me to distant lands in my imagination. They also helped me believe in the power of kindness and courage in the face of cruelty… and the power of honesty over fibs and falsehoods.
Which of your own books is your favourite and why?
As with my human children, they are each different! I try to make each the best they can be – and I really don’t have a favourite. But Journey to Jo’burg has a special place as my ‘first-born’ book. I also still feel very upset when I hear of children who are forced to seek refuge like Sade and Femi in The Other Side of Truth. Some young people have to be so very brave.
Why do you choose to read?
I read to travel freely in my mind, without needing any passport or permit. I love reading books that widen what I can see and understand… books that take me to new places and that open up new ways of seeing and understanding. Isn’t it amazing how little marks on a page can take you anywhere… even inside the heads and hearts of other people?