I have always been an avid reader and I love getting lost in the pages of a good story. When I am reading, I can be anybody that I want to be. I can be one of the Pevensie children stepping through the wardrobe into Narnia, I can experience Milo’s adventures in The Phantom Tollbooth, or I can befriend a giant like Sophie in The BFG. But my favorite book series has always been Harry Potter. Even though I am an adult, and the Harry Potter series is targeted at children, I still enjoy re-reading them. We can learn a lot from these stories. Harry was a perfectly imperfect character and he taught us valuable lessons about love, bravery, perseverance, loyalty, and the importance of family and friendship.
Why am I talking about my favorite children’s books? Well, April 2nd is International Children’s Book Day. This day was created so that parents and teachers can encourage their children to read. Reading is something that is in danger of becoming extinct. We live in a society where we don’t want to take the time to absorb a good book. Why read a 300+ page novel when you can just read the two-page SparkNotes entry? Or you can just wait for the movie to come out. So why do we need to read?
Children who read at least one book a week are more intelligent, creative, and innately curious than the children who don’t. Reading a book teaches us how to use our imaginations, and it also teaches us how to become thinkers and problem solvers. It is a proven fact that children who read frequently and watch less TV are more likely to succeed at school. At A Woman’s Place (AWP), we also know that reading stories, especially ones that are heroic or inspirational, can actually boost a child’s self-esteem. Harry Potter is a perfect example. When children see Harry consistently triumphing against insurmountable evil, they will start to believe that anything is possible.
On April 2nd, buy your child a book. If they are too young to read, or if they are really opposed to the idea of reading a story on their own, sit down and read it with them. Introduce them to the literary heroes and heroines like Harry Potter and the Pevensie children. Encourage them to be imaginative and creative. And let them develop a life-long love of reading that will help them grow into intelligent and confident adults.
I will leave you with this quote from George R. R. Martin:
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies; a man who never reads lives one.”