by Jacqueline Wilson
If someone had asked me who my favourite author was when I was a little girl, my answer would have been Jacqueline Wilson immediately. I'm still surprised myself that I read and loved pretty much every one of her books during my childhood considering I feel most at home within the realms of speculative fiction, but whenever Wilson brought out a new book I had to get my hands on it. From The Illustrated Mum to Lola Rose to How to Survive Summer Camp, I just adored her stories, as many children still do, and I think one of the great things about Wilson's writing is that she doesn't talk down to anyone. She tackles some pretty sensitive subjects that aren't often seen in a lot of children's fiction, such as foster care and mental illness, and children appreciate that. There are so many stories out there about orphaned children who grow up to save the world; now and then it's nice to read a story about children who grow up and save themselves.
While I loved basically everything Wilson wrote - aside from Love Lessons, which was the last new release of Wilson's I ever read before I left her behind in my childhood - I have a particular fondness for her Girls series. Partly because of the CITV adaptation that was on when I was younger, which was a lot of fun, but mainly because Ellie was a heroine I really needed. As soon as I hit puberty I started gaining extra weight that I couldn't shift, not to mention I had these 'boob' things getting in the way whenever I wanted to run anywhere. I started developing real body confidence issues, issues I still struggle with now, when some of the other kids began to comment on the changes in my body and make fun of me for it.
It's very rare to come across a protagonist in children's and/or teen fiction who's overweight, so the fact that Ellie was meant a lot to me. She made me feel a little less alone, and made me realise that people come in all shapes and sizes and that's okay.