Sam Wallace: The Books Of My Childhood

TV presenter, radio broadcaster and writer Sam Wallace tells us all about his relationship with books as a child, how it changed as he grew older, and the impact of those experiences on his own kids.

Sam (right) with his debut picture book Duggie the Buggy

I wasn’t a bookworm until I reached my twenties. As a kid I was always distracted, moving at a hundred miles per hour either chasing a ball or trying to break something. I was never a good reader and certainly not a good speller. But there were still a few books that managed to grab my heart back then.

The first was Berenstain Bears – The Bike Lesson by Stan and Jan Berenstain. It’s my all-time-favourite kids’ book and my two-year-old Brando loves it just as much as I did. I also loved Theodore Taylor’s The Cay about a boy and man stranded on a deserted island—which oddly enough, played out a year ago for me on Celebrity Treasure Island. As I grew older, I was all for anything written by Paul Jennings.

The Bike Lesson by Stan and Jan Berestain

I was a late bloomer, only discovering the joy of reading well into adulthood. I used to read everyday but since having kids, I’ve lost my groove. We’re averaging twenty-one nappy changes a day between our three kids so I have very little time to dive into my own books at the moment. But I am getting through at least ten kids books a day with Brando.

My partner and I wanted to ensure our kids wouldn’t struggle to engage with reading in the same way I did as a youngster so we poured a lot of energy and unapologetically spent a fortune to surround our kids with books.

Each, Peach, Pear, Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

So I’m happy to say Brando loves to read. His favourite book is the classic Each, Peach, Pear Plum by Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg. He also loves The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr, and Wildboy by Brando Yelavich all about the author’s journey walking around NZ. Brando has also taken to my book Duggie the Buggy, and sometimes asks to hear his dad’s book, which fills my heart with joy.

Brando has also taken to my book Duggie the Buggy, and sometimes asks to hear his dad’s book, which fills my heart with joy.

I wrote the book because of my passion for kids content. I spent most of my twenties writing and co-presenting a kids TV show called Sticky TV. They were some of the most rewarding years of my career. I love the idea of empowering kids to be better. To add to that, my current main passion is off-road racing, so I based the story on my off-road car.

But Brando doesn’t ask for Duggie the Buggy as often as he asks for Each, Peach, Pear, Plum. There’s a reason that book is a classic, it’s filled with all the magic that is hard to distinguish but that kids love. I could only hope to have a dash of that in my book.

Duggie the Buggy

by Sam Wallace

Illustrated by Shaun Yeo

Published by Scholastic NZ

RRP: $19.00

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Sam Wallace

Sam Wallace changes a lot of nappies. With three kids under 3, including identical twin girls. Sam lives and breathes the audience he writes for. But he has been for a long time. Sam cut his craft in media as a kids TV presenter. He co-wrote and presented the iconic NZ kids show Sticky TV for nearly a decade before going on to host the weather on TVNZ’s Breakfast and the 6 o’clock news. His passion for story telling continued on NZ’s prime time current affair show Seven Sharp, before moving into the world of radio where he currently co-hosts the Coast FM Breakfast show alongside Toni Street and Jason Reeves.

Sam surprised NZ by taking down some of NZ’s greatest athletes and notable celebrities by winning Celebrity Treasure island. But his main passion remains cars and motorsport. Sam spends any spare moment when he’s not changing nappies racing his off-roader at break neck speeds all around Aotearoa.