That is what we are all about, us writers!
On Awfully Big Blog Adventure we talk about and write books so that children young and old can read them. There is nothing more unhappy than a book without anyone to read it. We all know that children have to learn the skill that is reading so that they can discover the joy of losing themselves in a book, the delight of living new experiences through the characters in their favourite books.
We writers like to think that all parents will encourage this by spending time reading to their children, many do and there are agencies like Bookstart and BookBug who deliver books into the hands of every new parent and child. But as children grow up things change and we all know that life is not always the way we would like it to be, so we need our schools not only to help children learn the skill of reading but to find joy and delight in a broad range of books, to help them to become enthusiastic readers.
We have heard about how public libraries are under threat of closure or cuts in John Dougherty's excellent but depressing post A Death in the Library but at a time like this we need to make sure we recognise how important our school libraries are, and encourage those excellent people the School Librarians.I visit a lot of schools and it is often an enthusiastic and hard working school librarian who will invite me to speak. They understand how an author visiting a school and speaking passionately about what they write can infect students with their enthusiasm and on occasion can be the trigger that switches some children on to reading. Finding the right book for the right child, the book that helps that child discover there is something in books for them, is something that can change lives.
Books that deal with difficult subjects in a fictional setting can provide an opportunity to experience emotions, to dip into the dangerous side of life in a safe way. Teenagers need to push against authority and against the rules but reading and taking that journey with characters they believe in, can allow them an opportunity to see what might happen if they tried this in real life - raising questions they might never have asked themselves about the consequences of their actions. Books can be powerful in changing ideas and raising discussions that might never otherwise come about.
Going to borrow books from the public library works for some children but there will always be those who will never go to the library, but they all go to school.
|With some of the Teen Title Reviewers|
|Authors at Teen Titles event|
In Edinburgh some reading groups review teenage books for the excellent magazine Teen Titles Have a look on the website (link below) and check out a copy. This would not succeed without the efforts of the school librarians. Every year the lovely people at Teen Titles host a gathering and invite the young reviewers along to meet some of the YA authors who are in Edinburgh for the Book Festival . It is always great to meet these enthusiastic teenagers and their school librarians. I was joined there this year by fellow authors Teresa Flavin, Kate Harrison, Jane McLoughlin and Elizabeth Wein, Roy Gill, Keith Gray and John Fardell. Have a look at a copy of Teen titles here Teen Titles
Book prizes, particularly those judged by teenagers, is another way school librarians keep them reading. The excitement raised by these events keeps the students reading and introduces them to a wide variety of books, allowing them also the opportunity to get involved and have a say.
|Catalyst Book Awards|
|Red Book Awards|