Winning Year: 1952
Author: Mary Norton
Title: The Borrowers

Original Publisher: Dent
Current Publisher: Puffin
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780140364514
In Print

Pod, Homily and Arrietty are a family of tiny people who live beneath the floor, behind the grandfather clock in the old rectory. They dread cats and being "seen". They own nothing - everything they have is borrowed from the 'human beans' who don't even know they exist.

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Mary Norton was born in1903 in London, the only girl in a family of five children. She was brought up in the Manor House in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, which later became the setting for The Borrowers. She was educated at convent schools and, after a brief and unsuccessful time as a secretary, she became an actress. She was a member of the Old Vic Theatre Company for two years and always thought of herself more an actress than a writer. She gave up the theatre when she got married and went to live with her husband in Portugal. There her two sons and two daughters were born, and she began to write.

When war broke out in 1939, Mary's husband joined the Navy and she brought her children back to England via the United States - she lived there for a while waiting for a passage home. She returned to the stage in 1943. The Borrowers was published in 1952, the story was based on fantasies from her childhood when her short-sightedness made her aware of the teeming life in the countryside around her. As a child she owned small china dolls about four inches high, which provided inspiration for The Borrowers.


zoe brillantes


A great book for indoors on a rainy day. Explore the little corners where Borrowers may live or imagine the little things lying around the house are useful for them. What would a Borrower your age be playing with? What would they use for furniture? Where would they be living?

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