I’ve got nothing
against roses, chocolates or champagne, but for a Valentine’s Day gift that
makes a difference, how about a book?
It’s all fun, but the
serious side is that children need books. Not just to teach them to read so
they can do well at school and grow up to earn a good living. Children need
stories to nourish them, to help them sort out who they are and what their
dreams can be. They need fictitious characters to identify with, to empathise
with, to cry over, to love and to hate.
But sometimes, these
stories save lives. I was a lucky child, who grew up with bedtime stories, who
watched my parents read for their own pleasure; who gloated over her stack of Christmas
or birthday books. I had parents who loved and cared for me; I believed that
cruelty and callousness were fictions that belonged purely to the pages of
David Copperfield or The Water Babies.
Not everyone’s so
lucky. I have friends who’ve suffered unbelievable trauma in their childhood,
and who say that books were what saved them. I’ve had letters from teens who
told me that Peeling the Onion helped prevent them from committing suicide.
Another girl told me that Nim’s Island had got her through a terrible time in
her life – so books don’t have to be deep and earnest to help. They can be fun,
because sometimes escaping into another world for a few hours can get us
through the real one.
So tomorrow at 11:30, I'll be at Our Lady of Fatima Primary School in Rosebud to present the Year 3 classes with a copy of Nim at Sea, and a bookmark for each child, so they can safely lose themselves in books, and find their own way out.
And if you want to read more from someone who credits books with saving her life, and who writes books that may save other kids' lives, visit Cheryl Rainfield's site.
Labels: give a child a book, importance of books, importance of reading, International book giving day, why children need to read, why kids need books