Books for the young are full of wonderful life lessons. Debut children’s author Miranda Hart picks her personal favourites PHOTOGRAPHS Rachell Smith
Comedian-turned-author Miranda Hart on the children's books that still perk up her bookshelves an adult
In September last year, I succumbed to that old back-to -school feeling. I left school over 25 years ago but I can still get the dreaded sense of the freedom and lightness of summer ending, and life somehow becoming more of a drudge as we head into the darker skies of autumn. I was also embarking on an exciting new writing project: my first children’s book. Writing is a lovely job in many ways but it can be isolating (fun office chats are me talking to my dog about whether 10.30am is too early to stop for lunch).
So that sense of going back to work on my own, with a blank document on my laptop, fuelled a rather low mood. And when a low mood sinks in, you find yourself almost revelling in the awful world news and feeling self-pitying about the tiniest things. (I went into a fury simply because I couldn’t find a Biro I had only just used – why do they do that?!)
It’s easy to spiral into seeing just the negative around us and then quite simply not smiling. I think we all have days when we just want to hole up, cancel friends and cocoon in a duvet. I found that nothing could prompt an upward turn to my mouth – not even a cheeky dollop of ice cream with my favourite comedy, Modern Family, or watching my dog run as fast as she could to catch a squirrel and crash into a tree trunk looking slightly embarrassed (yes, not even a classic YouTube-worthy animal mishap).
In this glum state, it struck me how there are so many people in the world for whom there is genuinely very little, if anything, to smile about. And they are often the ones who keep doing so, who put on a brave face, staying cheery despite everything. Yet here I was, down in the dumps because of an unnecessary post-summer bout of the blues.
‘Snap out of it, Hart,’ I thought. Ironically I had recently written a book called Miranda’s Daily Dose of Such Fun, about the importance of enjoying a moment of fun every day, having researched how a smile has a positive effect