In Honor of Children’s Book Week
I have a deadline from my publisher (The RoadRunner Press) to create Parent/Teacher Guides for my two children’s books. Doing that exercise took me back to my English teacher days, and made me reflect on the value of reading.
Stories, even children’s picture books, give us an opportunity to learn about ourselves, other cultures, and values and virtues. They may even cause us to question our own values, strengthening or changing our beliefs based on what we learn. I’ve never liked books that set out to “teach” values or virtues as their primary purpose, because a good story can do that without hitting you over the head with it.
Stories have the power to make us feel another’s pain or happiness. They teach us about history and society. Human beings have always used stories to pass on important events or to create a sense of community.
The main character in a story has some kind of conflict. It can be internal, against another character or against nature, or maybe a combination of those. The simple act of asking children the question, “What would you have done if you had been in that situation?” can open up a wealth of critical thinking, imagination and inquiry into other topics.
Children’s Book Week is May 4-10. Visit bookweekonline.com or www.cbcbooks.org to learn more.
One thing that I’m particularly proud of is that my publisher has donated both of my books to be used for a project that the Children’s Book Council (CBC) is doing in partnership with the unPrison Project to create brand-new libraries of books for incarcerated mothers to read with their babies at prison nurseries in 10 states. http://www.cbcbooks.org/the-cbc-partners-with-the-unprison-project-to-build-prison-nursery-libraries-for-incarcerated-mothers-and-their-babies/#.VUPcqGZk9JN
I applaud The RoadRunner Press for being a part of this, and I’m so happy to learn that my books will be in these libraries.
Stories inspire us, educate us and entertain us. Don’t stop reading with your children, even when they can read for themselves. Two of my favorite books that I shared with my kids when they were in elementary school were Harriet the Spy and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Those were two books that I loved from my childhood, so I read them out loud to my kids and enjoyed them all over again!
What are some of your favorite books?