When I was a kid (around 7 or 8), I read German author Michael Ende’s book The Neverending Story (1983) ten times in a row. I’m not exaggerating – I think I had it checked out of the library for a whole year, probably hoping for it not to be a fantasy and to open up and take me to its world like it does main character Bastian. When I got a bit older, I discovered some of his other books, mainly the fantastic and amazing novel Momo (1973).
Momo (or Momo oder Die seltsame Geschichte von den Zeit-Dieben und von dem Kind, das den Menschen die gestohlene Zeit zurückbrachte which Wikipedia informs me translates to Momo, or the strange story of the time-thieves and the child who brought the stolen time back to the people) is about a young, poor girl whose “superpower” is her amazing ability as a listener. Her listening skills help the other children (and adults) stretch their imaginations and solve their problems, basically making her their muse. She lives in the ruins of a theatre in relative happiness and harmony. Until the Men in Grey appear. They are thieves of time, convincing the adult population to “save” time by placing it in the Timesavings Bank for later use. However, after agreeing to do so, they forget all about the men – all that lingers is the idea that they should save time. The only person immune to their power is Momo, and she must save the city and her friends from the evil men.
Years later, this is still one of my favourite books, and one I strongly urge you all to read if you haven’t already. No matter what age you are.