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My life in books nadiya hussain

This month, baking extraordin­aire Nadiya Hussain’s children’s book, Today I’m Strong, is out in paperback. Here, she reflects on the reads that have shaped her life

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MY FAVOURITE BOOK AS A CHILD WAS…

The Very

Hungry Caterpilla­r was one that I loved when I was really young. As a teenager, I adored the Nancy Drew series – I read them back to back, over and over again. The adventures were always so exciting.

MY FAVOURITE CHARACTER FROM A BOOK IS…

I recently read Queenie, by Candice Cartywilli­ams. While I have many favourite characters from many books, Queenie is so real: she is weak, vulnerable, strong and like a lioness all at once. I think we’re all both fixed and broken, just like Queenie.

MY ALL-TIME FAVOURITE BOOK IS...

To Kill A Mockingbir­d by Harper Lee. I read this as a teenager, and it was the first time I had read about racism. I had only ever experience­d it in real life and often imagined I was experienci­ng it on my own, but to read about it in a book made me realise it was bigger than just me.

THE CHARACTER I RELATE TO MOST IS…

Peter Pan! It’s that need to never grow old. In the moments where I feel overwhelme­d by adult issues, Peter Pan makes an entrance. Being a grown-up is a full-time job, but in those moments, I like to forget my worries and sing and dance around the kitchen barefoot.

THE LAST BOOK THAT MADE ME CRY WAS…

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I found myself on the edge of my seat crying throughout. It was such an immersive read and I found myself right in the middle of it. It’s been a long time since a book did that to me.

THE LAST BOOK THAT MADE ME LAUGH WAS…

Small Pleasures by The School of Life. The chapter ‘Grandmothe­rs’ made me laugh and think about my own grandma. They are interested in you when you are diddy and while they love you, they don’t care about credit score or job interviews; they just want you to enjoy your lunch today. It’s heartwarmi­ng and hilarious!

THE BOOK THAT GOT ME THROUGH A DIFFICULT TIME WAS…

Where’s My Lemonade?, a collection of inspiratio­nal stories for when life gives you lemons. It is always lovely to read wonderful stories that give us hope – especially right now.

THE ONE BOOK I THINK EVERYONE SHOULD READ IS …

The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla. It’s the kind of book that should be posted through everyone’s letterbox; it is real, raw and honest.

MY FAVOURITE LINE FROM A BOOK IS…

‘In the end what matters is this: I survived’, from

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. Words have a way of taking on a meaning for each of us individual­ly as readers, and for me this is a poignant line. We have all survived something.

Today I’m Strong (Hodder Children’s Books) by Nadiya Hussain and illustrate­d by Ella Bailey is out in paperback on 1st April

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