Wednesday, 4 October 2017

How does reading books influence children? – David Thorpe

How much do children's books influence children? And in what way?

It's a big question. Especially if you write books with a particular social purpose in mind.

I asked myself what influence my own reading as a child had on my thinking and behaviour and came up with my own top ten list of influences:
  1. Fundamentally, reading made me want to write. And become a writer.

  2. It opened my horizons to worlds outside my own narrow one, and fertilised my imagination.

  3. Reading science fiction made me ask 'what if' about all sorts of other things.

  4. Reading Swallows and Amazons – the scene about the charcoal maker and detailed information about how he made charcoal – made me spend days trying to make charcoal myself in the garden.

  5. Reading Robin Hood stories made me practise archery.

  6. Reading Robinson Crusoe made me practise building dens.

  7. Reading Thor – Stan Lee's Marvel Comic – made me read the original Norse myths.

  8. Reading Cheaper By The Dozen (actually this was read to our class by a teacher) made me especially time conscious, trying to be as efficient as possible.

  9. Science fiction also made me interested in astronomy. I joined the local Astronomy Society and at one point considered it as a career.

  10. I think my interest in the environment was definitely kindled by reading many stories about children and adults surviving and having adventures in the natural world (although I may of course also have been reading such stories because I was already interested in that).
This made me conclude that each different child might be influenced by things we write in ways beyond what we could predict.

I wonder what books influenced you in what way?

David's  writing course can be found here. He is the author of Hybrids, Stormteller and Marvel's Captain Britain amongst others. His new short story imagining a future Britain – For The Greater Good – is featured in this free ebook: Weatherfronts: The Stories We Tell.  Hybrids and Stormteller can be found and bought here.

1 comment:

Patsy said...

What I read must have had an influence on me, but I think the biggest influence was seeing my family read. I often saw my parents and grandparents reading - sometimes for information and sometimes for pleasure. I'm sure that helped develop my own love of reading and eventually contributed to me becoming a writer.