Alex Bell

What books did you read when you were a child?
I loved the Enid Blyton books, especially Famous Five and the Folk of the Faraway Tree. I also loved Roald Dahl and Dick King Smith.

If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
I’d love to be Hermione from Harry Potter so I could go to Hogwarts!

What is the best thing about reading?
That it takes you to magical new worlds where you can join wonderful characters on their incredible adventures.

What is your all time favourite book?
It’s so hard to choose just one favourite and mine changes quite a bit. At the moment, though, I’d say Going Postal by Terry Pratchett or A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children’s communication skills?
My parents used to play word games with my brother and I. Some of these were on the computer, and definitely helped increase our vocabularies.

How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
A huge part. When I was younger they always encouraged me to read, and when I started pursuing writing more seriously they were incredibly supportive.

How do you encourage your children or grandchildren to read, what books do you enjoy reading with them?
My recommendation would be for parents to try to find books that match their child’s interests in some way so that they’ll be really engaged. Terry Pratchett’s children’s books are fantastic magical adventures for younger readers.

Alex Bell is a fantasy author. Her latest book for children, The Polar Bear Explorers' Club, is out now.

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