Any bookworm worth its salt will tell you that the best present they’ve ever received was a book. It may be a book they’ve loved since childhood or the latest blockbuster given last Christmas. What other (low-cost) presents last as long as a book (physically and emotionally)?

When I was 10- or 11-years-old, my big brother gave me a copy of Dick Francis’ Whip Hand for my birthday. I expect he chose it because I was a horse-mad girl. From that one book, I went on to devour Dick Francis’ back catalogue and buy every new book that he wrote (once it was published in paperback). As a working adult, I was able to buy his new books in hardback copies, meaning I did not have to wait months until they came out in paperback!

Another book that I treasured when younger was a ‘Men from the Village Deep in the Mountains & Other Japanese Folk Tales’. This was given to me when I left Brownies and moved on to Guides. I remember being very interested in the exotic origin of the tales. Part of the importance of this book was the fact that it was a gift to me at an important moment in my life. I kept that book on my shelf until adulthood when I left home and left it behind. It recently re-surfaced in my parents’ loft and is now back on my bookshelf to share with my children.

If nothing else, I bet you were given a comic annual at Christmas! These have long been a staple of the publishing world and appear in many Christmas stockings. I wonder which was your favourite. Mine were Twinkle – anyone remember that comic? – and when I was older Jackie – another classic! These haven’t survived, however, my Dad’s Rupert the Bear and Dandy annuals from the 1940s are still with us.

February 14th is, of course, St Valentine’s Day, but did you know it is also International Book Giving Day? I’m keen to share the love of books with you, so please sign-up to receive my newsletter and you’ll be in with the chance of winning one of my books for the little one in your life.