Friday, February 17, 2012

Children's books and reading: Reading is not optional

I saw two interesting articles in Publishing Perspectives, Children’s Books Go Multimedia, Multinational, Multi…Everything and The Children’s Book Ambassador’s Platform: Reading is Not Optional. Both reassured me, encouraged me to keep on writing, and insisting, as much as one can, about the importance of children’s literature/supplementary reading material.

The first, which dealt with all the latest innovations, and the exciting new books, or older books being adapted to fit the new media ended with: “Everybody agreed that content, not technology, is still what drives success – and that a book for kids, no matter the platform, must support reading.

The other, was about Walter Dean Myers, an author, who has won many awards, including the Coretta Scott King Award, five times, and Newberry Honors, twice, and who has been made the latest National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature (The Library of Congress). He has indicated that his focus will be: Reading is not optional. What a powerful statement! Hence my using it for the title of this blog, and I trust that he would be pleased to see it making its way here.

Could we really take these two statements to heart; which means not lip service, but heart service, passion service? We talk so much about the importance of literacy, but actually reading, which just might entail the provision of books (children’s literature) for the children to read … Ah! How do we do that again? You, know there is always a way. I guess it’s just that we haven’t found it yet. Are we looking?

Walter Dean Myers, (about whom there was an article in the Sunday Observer, March 13, 2011, and I had kept it - what are the chances of that, eh?), in his address, told of how growing up a relatively poor child in Harlem, reading made the difference between the road he took and that taken by other disenfranchised youth. He could read from he was 5.

Both articles spoke of the importance of and need for reading material for boys, something we know and have been writing/speaking about. So let the children read!


  1. Reading is not optional. I like that!

  2. It was that early love of reading fiction that civilized some of us; that stretched our imaginations and took took us out of ourselves; that made us know intimate things about that great big world outside, and perhaps helped us to find our own way in it.