Laura Ellen Anderson on the series that made her a writer.
There is one book series that will stay with me forever, and how I wish I’d come up with such a wonderful, warm and timeless classic. The Worst Witch series of books written and illustrated by Jill Murphy are my all-time favourites. It’s hard to pick one of them but when I think back to how they made me feel, A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch gives me the warm and fuzzy memories as Mildred starts her second year at Cackle’s Academy desperately trying to rid her reputation of being the WORST witch!
The books, each with the bold colour cover and silhouette of Mildred Hubble, shaped much of my childhood as I spent hours drawing Mildred Hubble, coming up with alternative storylines for the characters or trying to recreate the Cackle’s Academy uniform.
I devoured the books over and over. I’m not the kind of person who reads the same book twice, but for some reason, The Worst Witch series was the only set of books I could… they were, and still are, my comfort blanket. When I open the pages, I feel at home. I feel welcome, like greeting an old friend. It’s hard to put into words what these books mean to me, but I have Jill Murphy to thank for inspiring the writer in me, providing a magical place to escape to if I were feeling ill or sad, and creating wonderfully relatable characters with flaws as well as strengths. Each character is appealing (even Ethel Hallow!) and I’d have loved to be a part of Mildred’s gang with my very own patched up broomstick.
The Worst Witch series, written by Jill Murphy, are published by Puffin, paperback, £7.99 each.
Laura Ellen Anderson’s new book, Marnie Midnight and the Moon Mystery will be published by Farshore, 1st February 2024, 978-0008591335, £7.99 pbk.