We all know how annoying it is as parents when parts of our children’s school uniform go missing. Finding lost jumpers can be tricky, particularly if they are not name tagged.

I listened to Saturday Live on Radio 4 yesterday morning. Listeners were calling in, responding to the interview with scent entrepreneur, Jo Malone, whose sense of smell is extraordinary. One Mum rang in to say that when her son was at Primary School, his class teacher always called on him to identify lost property.

Apparently, with one sniff, he was able to identify to which classmate any item of lost clothing belonged to. Jumpers left in the playground were always restored to their rightful owners, name tagged or not. I presume, however, the line was drawn at football boots!

Jo Malone’s story is extraordinary. She grew up dealing with profound dyslexia, educated at a school that did not believe in her and which did not have the resources to help her. As you often hear in stories of success, a young person has had to decide to fight back against the lack of belief in them and then they meet someone who gives them a break.

Jo Malone has just published her autobiography and she tells, not only of her tough journey to success but also of her battle with cancer, where she lost her greatest talent – her ability to smell – and her perfume company. I won’t spoil the story but needless to say she found a way to fight back again.

Listening to her reminded me of more than one conversation I had at Year 9 Parents’ Evening last Wednesday. Parents were speaking to Ms Davey for advice on how to get their daughter or son to read. One point we agreed on was that students needed to be inspired to read and an autobiography about someone you can identify with and admire, may just do the trick. This is particularly true if you also have to live with dyslexia, as it is harder work to read for pleasure.

I wouldn’t normally promote a particular product but it struck me on Saturday morning that Jo Malone’s journey from childhood, where she struggled at school, to success, then to disaster and then through to the other side; is just the sort of story which is compelling enough to make it worth the effort to read.

With World Book Day coming up this Thursday, if you are wondering what you might buy to encourage a teenage, reluctant reader, an autobiography such as Jo Malone’s might just do the trick.