When We Were Very Young

Many of you who love little people’s literature, or just good, heartwarming writing in general, would be familiar with the work of A. A. Milne, of Winnie-the-Pooh fame. Milne’s works, full of the most charmingly written insights into the world of children, are my constant source of comfort and inspiration, and I personally cannot imagine a little people’s blog without a post dedicated to him.

Milne’s inspiration for his writing came from his own little boy Christopher Robin, and his various stuffed animals, the most notable among them being his stuffed bear Edward who later took on the name of Winnie-the-Pooh.

Milne embodies the child’s voice in his or her world, as it is. Complete with imaginary companions who are just as, if not more, real than the ‘real’ ones. It is so rare to find your own voice, without judgement, put out there in a book written by an adult. And that for me is the greatest appeal of Milne’s work.

Apart from the Winnie-the-Pooh books, Milne also wrote two lesser-known treasures called When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six, and these are my personal favourites. All his books have been beautifully illustrated by the notable English artist and book illustrator Ernest H. Shepard, whose strokes make them come alive.

Here’s a poem that I especially love from Now We Are Six and read over and over.

solitude a a milne

Milne’s writings make for immensely enjoyable together-reading for children and adults alike, and touch upon themes that can provide brilliant entryways to talk to children about friendship, togetherness, and the power of imaginative play. More than anything, they remind us of the parts inside us that are still very young…sometimes six, and two, and twenty, and sometimes everything in between 🙂

winnie the pooh last page

P.S. Here’s a 1929 audio recording in which Milne reads excerpts from the Pooh book in his own voice. What a rare treat!

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