Book PSA

“A child who reads will be a child who thinks.”

Reading stories. The Paperbag Princess; his first feminist story.

I have spent all of my adult life studying children’s literature; the effects of reading; how to help students who strive to be better readers; and overall, espousing the powerful effects that reading can have.

My own childhood was replete with books and stories: I can still hear my mother reading to me lovingly, in voices I can still recall in vivid audio in my own head. There is no single piece of furniture I have bought more frequently than a book shelf– all manners of sizes and shapes. And still, I do not have quite enough shelves to house all of the books that have meant something to me throughout my life.

Marie Kondo, the sweet, Japanese organizing guru (whom I adore because she makes me recall all of the sweet Japanese women I taught with 20 odd years ago)– would have us believe that we should only keep things that ‘spark joy.’ She’s against books that don’t continuously add value to your life; but takes care to recognize their importance: “Books are the reflection of our thoughts and values,” she says. Over the years, even I have let some books go– passed them on; donated them; made them part of the collection I loan out at school. But many of them still spark joy.

An online Twitter colleague posed the question: “When a student asks: What’s the point of reading literature… what’s your answer?” and I was so thrilled to read the responses, because they resonate deeply as to why I believe in the power of books! Here are a few:

Shelly Boyd Stephens
‏@smbpinky
Replying to @piros_grant @ncte @teacher2teacher
All literature is actually about you. Authors use themes that make us think about common human experiences. Sometimes, we can easily see ourselves in a book, sometimes it’s subtle, but they’re all actually about you.

Karl Ubelhoer
@MrU_ishere
Replying to @piros_grant @ncte @teacher2teacher
To travel the world; to explore love, loss, and greatness; to live the lives of a thousand people; to breathe life into stale lungs; to find my better self.

Meredith Johnson – #BookCampPD
‏@mjjohnson1216
Replying to @piros_grant @ncte @teacher2teacher
from @matthaig1 Reading isn’t important because it helps get you a job. It’s important because it gives you room to exist beyond the reality you’re given. Reading makes the world better. It is how humans merge. How minds connect. Dreams. Empathy. Escape. Reading is love in action.

Here’s a fun Infographic on how Reading Makes You A Better Person.

So, READ. Read to your kids, read for yourself. Just READ.

A well-loved series of amazing potty humour. Never gets old.

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