This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
A princess, an evil uncle and an act of kindness by a school librarian. Nicola Moriarty tells Novelicious why The Balloon Tree by Phoebe Gilman sticks out for her as the book that represents her love of reading and writing. Nicola's latest book, Paper Chains, is out now.
When I was in primary school, probably six or seven years old, I fell in love with a book called The Balloon Tree by Phoebe Gilman. I was enthralled by the beautiful illustrations, which were filled with such incredible detail. I was captivated by the magic of the story. I wanted to be Princess Leora, sneaking through her village in the dead of night in search of just one balloon in order to save her kingdom from her evil uncle!
Every single week, I would borrow it from my school library and take it home to read night after night. Sometimes I would sit on my mum’s lap and make her read it to me over and over.
In fact, I took it out from the library so many times, that one day the librarian called me out of class to come and see her. I was worried that I was in trouble – but instead she presented The Balloon Tree to me as a gift. She probably thought: "Oh for goodness sake, no one else will ever be able to borrow it anyway, you may as well just have the bloody thing!" But I was so touched that she would care enough to notice how much I loved it.I don’t know if I could really say straight out that that one book changed my life – however the memory of that librarian giving me The Balloon Tree, stands out to me as a sort of representation for my life-long love of books and reading and essentially, writing.
I still have The Balloon Tree today – after losing track of it for many years and then finding it in storage at my parents’ house one day. I’ve read it to my two daughters several times already, but I’m waiting for them to reach the age where they might truly appreciate it and fall in love with it as I did.