Rob Hodgson

What books did you read when you were a child?
The ones that come to mind are; a collection of Spike Milligan books that I thought were insane and hilarious, The Jolly Postman because my brother read it to me in a funny voice, all of Dahl’s classics because they are classics, and literally anything about dinosaurs.

If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
If I could be anyone, it would be Fantastic Mr. Fox. He’s rebellious, very resourceful, keeps it cool in the face of danger and follows through on his plan.

What is the best thing about reading?
I loved reading as a kid because it was real fantasy place to go, where everything was full of colour and detail, and I’d live in that world for ages afterwards. Now there are so many distractions as an adult, I like reading for the same reasons, you digest everything slower and it stays with you longer.

What is your all time favourite book?
I think my favourite book is The Catcher in the Rye. Holden’s old-man-in-a-young-man’s-body perspective walks the perfect balance of funny and sad. Every time I read it, I love visiting Salinger’s New York. And I think I read it at the right time in my life that I kind of doubled down on the sentimentality of it.

Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children’s communication skills?
Drawing was definitely the thing I came to before writing, and pictures are still the way I communicate best, I think. There’s something more direct about words, but pictures also live in the world of abstraction which can say a lot more I think.

How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
My parents created a happy and loving environment, with plenty of freedom to be creative. They didn’t encourage me in any particular direction and I think if they had been pushy I would have been turned off, but by giving me space to write and draw, they encouraged me to be curious.

How do you encourage your children or grandchildren to read, what books do you enjoy reading with them?
I would recommend all the classics. It’s a totally boring answer, but I think it’s important to have a context to the culture you’re being thrown into later in adult life.

Rob Hodgson was born in a seaside town in the south of England in 1988. He currently lives in Bristol where he spends his days making a mess and turning it into illustration projects and books. Some interests include animals, skateboards, the psychology of perception and collecting strange toys. His first book, The Cave was published in 2017 and is the Bookstart book of the year 2019. His latest book, The Woods is out now.

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