Jonathan Meres

What books did you read when you were a child?
Pretty much anything that was put in front of me! The Robin comic annual, the Blue Peter annual, anything about football… Brer Rabbit, Jennings, even the latest Hornby model railway catalogue! To this day, I have a ridiculously wide taste when it comes to books.

If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
Just one? I could give a different answer for each day of the year. Today, for instance, I’d like to be Lowly Worm, from The Busy World of Richard Scarry, because it would be very cool to drive road sweepers and buses.

What is the best thing about reading?
Again, just one? What’s not to like about reading? It can open up whole new worlds. Especially if you happen to be reading a map!

What is your all time favourite book?
Oh boy, these questions aren’t getting any easier, are they? I honestly don’t have a favourite. And sorry if that’s a cop out. But it’s the truth. It’s like being asked which of my 3 sons is my favourite! I generally just say all of them.

Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children’s communication skills?
Mainly by talking to them about stuff that your child is interested in. And stuff that you’re interested in, too - but mainly stuff that they’re into. You might even learn something yourself! It’s not rocket science. And I now know an awful lot about rocket science.

How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
Well I could pretty much read and write before I started school, and that was largely due to my mum reading loads of comics and books to me and just generally spending time with me. Which again, is hardly rocket science. But it’s much harder to do that these days, what with there being so many more distractions. (Not all of them bad, I have to say). I don’t think either of my parents consciously set out to encourage my writing skills. It just happened.

How did you encourage your children to read?
By not making reading seem like a chore and something that’s ‘good for them’ like vegetables. By letting them choose what they wanted to read (along with the occasional nudge in the right direction) and by having a house full of books. Oh, and also by letting them see their parents reading, themselves.

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