Children need books

If you have children at home do not deprive them of the wonderful adventures and journeys they can only partake in through reading books. Not all children will pick up a book on their own and start reading it, they need encouragement. It is a sad fact that some prisons in this world have more libraries than some schools do, so it is up to you, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to get children to read. Emilie Buchwald, the author of children’s books such as Floramel and Esteban or Buddy Unchained, put it well, when she said: “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”

It is crucial to start them off young, so start reading them fairy tales and fables before bed. Fables in particular help the very young among us learn morals and can teach kids to understand right from wrong in a fun, playful way. Reading to your children when they are young also creates a special emotional bond between parents and kids. So get them books and get them lots of them.

Books help children develop their language skills and expand their vocabulary later in life. Reading also assist them in developing critical thinking skills and will encourage children to think and use their imagination. Nothing expands your world as much as reading, picture books have the power to introduce children to exotic animals and places they didn’t even know existed. Books don’t just help us understand the world around us, but also teach us more about ourselves. We can find similarities between characters of stories we read or find idols we strive to be like.

Most of all books all us, all of us, young and old, to take part in adventures we never even thought possible. We can go on fantastic journeys across the seven seas, travel the entire world in 80 days, experience life in the Wild West or become best friends with Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timothy and join them on their search for hidden gold in old dungeons. Books have so much to give, so go out there in pursuit of some of the great children’s stories, such as:

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

To just name a few.

Zero History by William Gibson

Zero-History-coverZero History follows on from Spook Country, but does not contain the character of Tito, whose storyline was concluded fairly satisfactorily. The location of the book has been changed to London, but the characters of Henry and Milgrim have kept on – and developed fairly well. It’s fascinating to see these characters again, and follow their interactions and adventures in a totally different setting.

This work mainly concerns itself with fashion and the stock market – not the most initially fascinating of subjects, but some ones that Gibson describes very well and expounds on at length. As with Spook Country, Gibson shows himself to have a masterful knowledge of his subject matter and approaches the subject of fashion from an angle few would expect of a science fiction writer. It’s a fairly stereotypical but somewhat accurate assumption that most any science fiction writers would look at fashion, clothing and garment industries with some disdain and a lack of understanding: they are sectors of the world that are fairly often derided, despite their importance. However, Gibson shows himself to know a thing or two about clothes: and he puts this knowledge to good use in integrating fashion and the nature of garments into the plot excellently.

Essentially, Henry and Milgrim are now working for the same company, investigating a very specific and secretive brand of clothing to determine what makes it so cool. This plotline works its way throughout the entire novel, and is handled very well – and provides an interesting counterpoint to the rest of the plot, which is mainly concerned with corporate espionage and continues the locative and geographic-based themes of Gibson’s previous work, Spook Country.

In this novel, Gibson fleshes his characters out more and provides more depth – his previous works were a little distant and contained characters that were a little more aloof, but Zero History is approachable and easy to read. It feels a lot less of a struggle to keep up with the plot, as well – generally, there is more of a sense that you want to continue reading, rather than backtrack and make sense of what has been happening. From a purely selfish point of view, the inclusion of some Melbourne-based plot points made it very easy to continue to read, even just to see what Gibson had to say about the Melbourne locations he was talking about.

 

Generation Z: The Bookless Generation

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Generation Z (those born post-2005) are going to read fewer books than any generation before them. Generation Y were probably bad enough – but at least we read some.

In the modern era, reading books is no longer a common pastime. Older folk still love a good book to pass the time, but the new generation have other forms of entertainment

So what will be the consequences of a virtually bookless generation? We can only guess, but some side effects might be:on tap: computers, iPads, the internet, their phones, televisions…the list goes on. With this being the case, they are unlikely to read all that many books (and ones that they do read are likely to be on their eReader). Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule – but there probably won’t be all that many exceptions. While kids will be ‘forced’ to read some books at school, they are quite likely to grab the movie version to catch up on the plot, or simply Google synopsis of the story. Many won’t actually read the book.

Poor spelling and grammar: We learn to spell and write property by reading – at least partially. If kids are no longer reading regularly, they are not gaining that exposure to proper grammar and ‘good’ writing. Instead, they are submerging themselves in text talk, internet articles (where mistakes are a-plenty) and other forms of writing. What this means is that they will pick up habits from these places, rather than from well-written books. This is always going to end badly.

This doesn’t just mean they can’t write a book themselves. It means they will struggle with basic things in life, such as writing a resume and cover letter, or sending client emails at work. Writing well is an important life skill.

Inability to read complex things: When your entire library consists of internet bullshit and texts, you become used to reading very simply-worded content. This means that those big words are sure to go over your head, reducing and simplifying your vocabulary. When it comes to things like job interviews, you want to sound like you are relatively intelligent – not some simpleton.

So, if you are the parents of Generation Z, give them a book. Encourage them to read some proper literature and get off the computer. Their writing, reading and overall language will benefit – and they will thank you for it in the long run.