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World Book Day author Cathy Cassidy talks children’s books

The writer shares her weakness for cake, hair crimping and how she would love to sail off into the sunset

Posted: 7 March 2013
by Alex Lloyd

Author Cathy Cassidy
Cathy describes herself as a real-life Alice in Wonderland.

Former magazine agony aunt Cathy Cassidy is Puffin’s top-selling author for girls and has twice won the prestigious Queen of Teen literature award. She lives in Scotland and is mum to two teenage daughters.

What was your favourite book as a child?

There were so many, it's hard to choose, but I loved Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons for years. I devoured the whole series and longed to live in a retro world of sailing, adventure and would-be pirates!

If you had to dress up as a character for World Book Day, who would it be?

Maybe Alice in Wonderland. I have spent most of my life in sticky-out dresses with long crimped hair and Chinese slippers, and have often been accused of channelling her! And all of the cakes I come across seem to say 'Eat Me'...  

Which children’s book do you wish you’d written?

Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian is the most amazing children's book ever, for me. I will always love it - it showed me that children's books can tackle really challenging subjects. Such a powerful read.

Which children’s writer or illustrator do you admire most and why?

I guess I'd say JK Rowling. Her own life was so tough at the outset, yet instead of letting the difficulties define her, she managed to create a world that has enchanted us all. That whole Harry Potter phenomenon made children's books cool again, and in turn this has helped many children's authors to find their own niche. I also love that she uses her wealth to help others - she has a real social conscience. Go, JK!

Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?

Mouse from Dizzy and Lucky Star is my favourite. He appeared first in Dizzy as a badly behaved seven-year old and didn't quite get the happy ending he deserved. I picked his story up in Lucky Star, jumping ahead seven years to when he was 14, to finish his story. He's a boy who has had a hard start in life and makes his own rules in life, but he's brave, caring and stands up for what he believes in.  

What are your top five children’s books of all time?

Noooo! Just five? The Tiger Who Came To Tea by Judith Kerr, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, Once by Maurice Gleitzman, Watership Down by Richard Adams and Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech.

The Chocolate Box Girls: Bittersweet by Cathy Cassidy is one of eight World Book Day 2013 books. Children can exchange their £1 voucher for a copy at a range of bookshops. Find out more at

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