Writers are often told to write what they know. Even if they end up writing fantasy, some of their real life often creeps into the story. I recently enjoyed a Children’s Literature Tour of England and Scotland to see the homes and work spaces of famous authors, and I was surprised to see the little details (or sometimes more) from their homes or towns that crept into their work. See if you can recognize any of these places from the books.
Lucy Boston Children of Green Knowe
Tolly arrives at Green Knowe, and this is his bedroom. He leaves his window open a little bit so a bird can fly in. Here’s the bird cage and toy chest too. The room Lucy Boston described in the book belonged to her son, Peter. They’ve kept the room the same so visitors to the house can see what it looked like long ago.
C. S. Lewis The Lion, The Witch, & the Wardrobe
When Lucy walks into the wardrobe, she heads toward a lamppost in the snow and meets a faun. When Author C. S. Lewis walked along this path in Oxford, he passed this lamppost. Can you imagine him seeing it on a snowy day? What’s even more interesting is that the porch posts on a nearby house have fauns carved into them. Could that be where he got his idea?
J. K. Rowling Harry Potter
So many scenes in the Harry Potter books and movies are drawn from Oxford. Do these scenes from the Buttery, the Sorting Room, and the staircase look familiar? How about taking a ride on a steam train? Do you think any of these inspired J. K. Rowling?
Howard Pyle Robin Hood
This giant oak still stands in Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, England. Its branches are now propped up, but can you picture this mighty tree sheltering Robin Hood and his band of merry men?
Nancy Farmer Sea of Trolls
The Holy Isle of Lindsifarne, a tidal island off the coast of England is cut off from the mainland during high tide. Visitors to the tiny town are trapped on the island until low tide. Isn’t this mysterious island the perfect setting for the Sea of Trolls trilogy?