Melissa Harrison

At the back of a little village library set between a newsagent and a ladies’ dress shop a child with acorns in the pockets of her green school dress sits cross-legged, reading, on a scuffed podium meant for visiting speakers who rarely come. She has been at the shelves, and there are books piled all about her: What To Look for in Spring, A Country Child, The Little Grey Men and Animal Tracks and Signs, the last no less magical for the words and pictures in it being familiar from a dozen previous visits. In this unmediated space between the twin pressures of school and home, time seems to slow and she is calm and happy, her mind busy among rich, secret, but welcoming worlds.