Saturday, December 13, 2008

Storied Children: Relevant Reading

I spent thirteen years in the book industry, and I definitely still retain my love for bookish things. Having children is a great opportunity to guiltlessly unleash the inner storyteller, as well as indulge in beautiful children's books along with your kids.

Having books at home, and reading to your children is so important. As a college student I worked on a graduate student's project involving early childhood literacy. As a volunteer family tutor I would visit the homes of families being studied for the project. I saw something that seemed so fundamentally alien to me--homes with no books.

Reading the Books on the Nightstand blog, I was reminded that snazzy toys are nice to have, but for my family, books are essential. What about for you? As the writer asks in the mentioned post, "how are you raising a reader?"

As budgets are tight, the library has once again become an important resource to keep a fresh mix of books for my growing toddler to be exposed to, but there is also a "Netfix for children's books," This service also has a very interesting and inspiring twist. Instead of the books being returned to circulation, they are instead donated to a local school in need. You can express your love for reading and support local schools.

Finally, I read quite a good interview in Der Spiegel with Cornelia Funke, sometimes referred to as the "German J.K. Rowling." A movie adaptation of her book, Inkheart, is just about to hit theaters. A few of her interesting perspectives:

"It doesn't matter whether a child reads a book, listens to an audio book
or watches a movie. It's only important that children grow up with

"But we mustn't worship books as deeply sacred shrines, and declare
everything else to be a fall from grace. The problem with many books for
children and adolescents is that they try to send a message. But a child will
not voluntarily pick up a book hostile to fun and, therefore, will learn nothing
about language. And that child is right to do so. We don't go into a bookstore
and say: Give me an especially difficult and instructive book."

How do you keep stories alive in your children's lives?
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