Teddy Keen

What books did you read when you were a child?
I loved Tolkien's The Lord of Rings, Willard Price's Adventure series and Mr Crabtree Goes Fishing.

If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
Timmy the dog in The Famous Five. Or Henri Charriere AKA Papillon.

What is the best thing about reading?
The fact that there is nowhere a book can't take you. You can travel in time, visit new worlds, live every kind of life.

What is your all time favourite book?
Tough question. Probably The Places In Between as it inspired me to first write of my travels. Farthest North and Papillon close behind.

Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children’s communication skills?
I think listening. I say that because I could be a lot better at it. Find out what your kids love, then let them know they can bore you stiff with their curiosity.

How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
Being read to most nights by my mum. My Dad would make up incredible adventure stories based on family exploits. These fed my imagination and set the stall for writing.

How do you encourage your children or grandchildren to read, what books do you enjoy reading with them?
I think by reading to them every night – they're still young. My son has just taken the original Trollhunters book to school after watching the Netflix series. He's just started reading. I often discuss how reading is like Netflix x100 which at least sounds pretty damn cool.

Teddy Keen is the editor and compiler of The Lost Book of Adventure. In 2017 during a trip to the Amazon Teddy, himself an illustrator and outdoor enthusiast, came across a sealed metal container in a hut on the banks of a remote river. The contents turned out to be the lifetime’s work of an unknown artist adventurer. Alongside the notebooks, sketchbooks and other belongings was a letter which appeared to be written for the benefit of two young family members. The contents have been painstakingly pieced together to form the ultimate bible of adventure. Teddy lives in London with his young family.

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