If you’re a twenty something and your childhood wasn’t shaped by the cheeky escapades of Tracy and the dumping ground crew, the naughty Tanya and sweet Mandy, or the desperately sad Dolphin, Star and Marigold, then I wonder if you had a childhood at all. (Joking. Sort of.)
If you are unaware of the names above, then you haven’t been introduced to the world of Jacqueline Wilson. The Queen of children’s literature, Jacqueline Wilson has been shaping the minds of young adults for decades. Whether it’s her hard hitting take on stories that are relatable for young children and adults, her realistic narration, or just her amazing style (all black everything with fingers full of silver rings? Chic.), we took her into our hearts as we grew up, and we are still partial to an episode of Tracy Beaker every now and again. And it helps that all of her books featured some strong female leads, all suffering with realistic problems but managing to maintain a bubble of love around them.
We are paying homage to our favourite children’s author here at Chapter W, and reliving some of our favourite reads from Ms. Wilson. Take a trip down memory lane, and brush the dust off your faves. You’ll thank us.
1 – The Illustrated Mum
One of the best stories Jacqueline Wilson ever produced, telling the sorry tale of Dolphin, Star and their mentally ill mother Marigold. Relevant issues that are important even today, mental illness in the family and sibling dramas, featuring one of the most hard hitting scenes in children’s literature at the end. Golden.
2 – Secrets
What do you get when you mix Jacqueline Wilson, Anne Frank and two tales of girls from different backgrounds? A bloody good story. That’s what. The split chapters of India and Treasure are truly brilliant, and shows you that money doesn’t mean happiness. Epic.
3 – Diamond Girls
A story that wouldn’t seem out of place in Eastenders, following the lives of a fairly dysfunctional family told through the eyes of the youngest. Again, harrowing scene featuring an abused girl jumping out of a window to fly like a bird. What you trying to do to us Jacky??
4 – The Lottie Project
This will always have a strong place in my heart as it was my first ever JW book, and the first book I got signed by her highness. Again, a strong female lead with the mother and daughter connection, and a storyline that so many children could relate to, the introduction of a new family to your safe haven.
5 – The Girls series
This is when Jacky Dubz went a little bit 12A on us. The Girls stories introduced periods, sex, eating disorders and unwanted sexual experiences to us, and we were ready for it. I remember my Dad picking up ‘Girls In Tears’ and not letting me have it due to reading a page about breasts. She made a brave step into the YA territory, and it was widely loved. But, not sure I’ll ever forgive the casting of Ellie in the TV series. Sorry hun.
6 – Bad Girls
Again, one of my first ever JW books, so a real strong piece in my heart. The tales of a good girl making friends with the naughtiest girl in existence (AKA a shoplifter who wears hotpants. The scandal!) was a riveting read, and one that needs a TV show.
7 – Lola Rose
One of her darker reads telling of an abused family who ran away from their abuser after winning £10,000 on the lottery, a fantasy read that my year 6 class fell in love with. So much so that my copy was absolutely battered by break time.
8 – Midnight
Don’t lie, we all wanted to be Jasmine, the cool mysterious boho new girl that changed the life of Midnight’s protagonist. And didn’t we all fancy her brother, Will? Yes. Yes we did.
9 – The Story of Tracy Beaker
Can’t forget the Beaker in our little list, can we? Lower on our list than you may have thought, but with her TV show she has changed from the rebellious little tyke we first met with Nick Sharrat’s drawings. Also, The Dare Game was a little bit more adventurous. Her mum was coming back from Hollywood, alright?!
10 – Cliffhanger/Buried Alive
I admit, I never finished Cliffhanger. This series was Jacky’s route into the ‘boy’s market’, which for me didn’t work out as well as I thought. Never mind, we’ll forgive you.