The flag from Swallows and Amazons.

The flag from Swallows and Amazons.

I went to school next to a public library in the centre of Edinburgh, Scotland. Because my Mum worked later than school finished, my younger brother and I attended the After School Club. This was a magical place where there were all sorts of activities to do and games to play, but the lure of the library was too much for me to ignore. I would plead and beg with the supervisors to take me next door to sit in a comfy bean bag and read. They would drop me off at the library and then come and get me when it was home time.

One day as I was reluctantly placing the books back on the shelf, a young librarian came over and asked if I would like my very own library card. Much like my childhood heroine, Matilda, I was absolutely thrilled as I could now take books home with me!

Gradually I worked my way through all kinds of different books but soon found that my favourite ones were based around action, mystery, and adventure. In particular I loved the Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransome, which follows the escapades of a group of friends during their summer holidays in the Lake District, England. This was something that I could relate to as my brother and I would often spend our summers with our Dad in the Highlands of Scotland, where we grew up. Seeing our friends again after a long term at school, we would always enjoy picnics, plan treasure hunts, build club houses, and set of on adventures similar to those of the characters in the books.

We even went so far as to call ourselves the Swallows and Amazons and bought matching wrist bands with a skull and cross bones on them with our pocket money. These served as a sign of our lasting comradeship even when we were back in the city and back at school. And when that time inevitably came, I would head back to the library after school, open up a book, and plot our next adventure.

-Molly Gibb
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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