Monday, 23 March 2009

If we want kids to read....

then we have to provide books they want to read.
That sounds so simple, so trite and yet it is a lesson that adults seem to have forgotten.
Susan Greenfield, Baroness-Professor and Thinker in Residence, was commenting on the importance of reading in the 'Tiser this morning. One of her concerns is that the next generation of screen addicted young will not have the same creative capacity. I find that interesting because one of my complaints about films is that they do too much for me. They do not leave enough to my (perhaps over-active) imagination. If it good writing then I know what the people and the places are like. I could recognise them if I saw them - the director's view is not my view. The author's view will not be my view. That does not matter. What matters is that I can imagine it all.
Looking at the dross on the library shelves it is clear that more and more of it is rising to the top. The good writing is sinking. Children are being presented with more and more rubbish. Enid Blyton was once said to be bad for young readers but the writing was straight forward, violence was at a minimum, the goodies won and the baddies lost. In Blyton the vocabulary is limited and the characters are not well developed but, despite all that, it is preferable to much of what is currently on the shelves.
Australia needs a Fidra type company to reproduce Southall's Simon Black, Thiele, Grant-Bruce, Thorpe-Clark, Chauncy and others.

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