Friday, 11 August 2017

How many books

do you own? 
We managed to cull a few recently....several thousand of them. There are still a lot of books in this house. I am trying to get the courage to cull a few more. 
I don't really need them any longer. My nephews and niece have grown up and two no show no sign of having any children of their own.  The other two live rather far away and their children are not likely to want the books I so carefully collected. Ms W has read almost all of them, giving up on just a few that did not appeal. Her friends have borrowed from me. So have some  of the neighbourhood children, now grown up. 
There are other children I know and I keep being told, "They aren't readers."
There is a tiny paragraph in this morning's paper saying "one in three" children have less than a dozen books at home.  
I find this extraordinary and frightening. What do they do to entertain themselves when they can't be outside? Is it all screen time and playing with plastic? I know children who are not allowed to be outside unless there is an adult there to watch out for them so they must be spending a lot of time inside. Are they supervised there too?
There is a paediatrician living across the street from us. The Senior Cat gave her the last set of building blocks he made for her three year old. 
       "That's the sort of toy I want you to be able to play with," she told him. She takes him to the local toy library - and he likes books. He sees about half an hour of television a day - an age suitable educational but fun program. His mother admits she rarely sees television. His father will occasionally watch a movie. They read. I know T and his baby brother will grow up reading. They are very fortunate in their parents. 
But what of the children who don't have parents who read? Watching television is a very different experience from reading and being read to at bedtime and at other times. If there are less than a dozen books in the house and you don't go to the library every week then where do you get all the experiences that reading has to offer? What do you do with your time? I know there are very few children with sets of lovingly crafted timber building blocks that can be turned into anything you care to imagine. To buy a new set like those the Senior Cat made would cost far more than most parents would consider spending - although they will eventually spend far more than that on plastic toys with associated commercial marketing. 
I am glad T has the building blocks. He uses them. His little brother will use them. They will learn a lot from using them. They will read and they will almost certainly do very well in school.
It's the children who don't have blocks and books I am worried about.  


Allison said...

What about Ms W? Might she really appreciate being given those books when she becomes a mother?

jeanfromcornwall said...

I have not yet been able to cull any of our books - apart from the paperback "chewing gum for the eyes" stuff that serves where we used to be reading the back of the cereal packet. The trouble is that they all mean something to me, even if I don't particularly like them.
Off subject and back to a previous day's post: there was a detailed obituary in the Times about Betty Cuthbert. What a magnificent lady!