When I think about the books that I wish I had written, the first that come to mind are mostly graphic novels and picture books. Like many writers, I suspect, I feel constrained by words. I envy painters and filmmakers. I wish I could have written The Arrival, The Crab with the Golden Claws, Where The Wild Things Are, or any of those other beloved books which rely on images more than words to tell their stories. But if I had to pick a book that I wish I’d written, rather than drawn or painted, it would be Ian Serraillier’s The Silver Sword.
Published in 1956, The Silver Sword is the story of a family torn apart by the Nazis and slowly piecing themselves back together, set in the chaos of wartime Poland and Germany. It’s a magnificent adventure full of thrilling incidents, but is most memorable for the characters at the heart of the book: the three Balicki children and Jan, the orphan they befriend. I can’t remember when I first read The Silver Sword – I suppose I must have been nine or ten – but I have re-read it many times since, and it was a huge influence on my own first book, A Dog Called Grk.
Josh Lacey’s latest book The Dragonsitter’s Island (978-1783440450) is published by Andersen Press at £4.99.