Albert Einstein once said, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
Since I can remember, my parents read me fairy tales before bed; tales of witches, dragons, fairies and talking animals. My imagination went wild from these delightful stories. I remember the magical worlds that these characters lived in did not seem so far fetched or different from the world that I knew. As I grew up, I was able to separate the worlds but escape to the magical ones through the pleasure of reading these books myself. Here, I share my four favorite magical worlds; stories that have left a literary trail on my heart.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by English author Lewis Carroll . It isn’t surprising why there have been endless adaptations of Carroll’s most noted work with a strong English female protagonist, a talking rabbit and a strange but intriguing magical world named Wonderland. I lived in Oxford for three years where great credit is given to Alice’s Adventures via Christ Church, the Pitt Rivers Museum and an extremely old pub named The Eagle and Child, where it is said that Carroll and J.R.R. Tolkien met up weekly with a local group of writers. His story has continued to inspire generations for more than 100 years.
Peter Pan by Scottish author and dramatist J.M. Barrie . Barrie unofficially adopted the Davies boys in London, who inspired his story which became his most notable work ever. Peter, Wendy and the lost boys flew around Big Ben in London all the way to Neverland; a land where a child ‘never’ has to grow up. A hope and dream of many adventurers in the ‘real’ world who went on search for the Fountain of Youth for just that reason. Who wouldn’t want to go this magical place where mermaids swim, fairies flutter and humans can fly? You can visit the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens in London, re-visit the tale through books and theatre productions and I would recommend watching the amazing film adaptation starring Johnny Depp called Finding Neverland (if you haven’t watched it already). The film brings reality and fantasy to a mutual understanding in the tale of Barrie’s life and the story of Peter Pan.
Harry Potter Series by English author J.K. Rowling [1997-2007]. Rowling brought us 10 years of magic with the film adaptations bringing us even more. The modern stories of Harry Potter and his adventures at Hogwarts, in a magical world where muggles do not venture, are argued to be the greatest fantasy stories of all time. What started as just a children’s book, developed into a world-wide phenomenon for both children and adults with endless translated books, movies, toys, and even theme parks that were created in Harry’s honor. That leads me to believe that I am not the only one who wishes to wave a wand, whisper and incantation or fly on brooms. Even though the series and the films have come to an end, Rowling’s magical world will continue to live with us forever and generations to come.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by author C. S. Lewis , the first book of seven in the series The Chronicles of Narnia. Lewis’ story was published not long after WWII ended and represented and documented the evacuation of children from London up north to the English countryside during The Blitz; a process that my own grandfather experienced as a child. The story represents total escapism for not only the characters in the story but for the readers too. We are overwhelmed with intrigue and excitement when the four siblings stumble through the wardrobe and discover Narnia; a winter wonderland with an abundance of talking animals and a great sense of adventure! Everything we ever dreamed about comes to life in this fantasy land.
No childhood is complete without fairy tales and magical lands and I believe the same can be said for adulthood.
Please feel free to share some of your favorite literary worlds right here. . .