This vibrant picture book from Vivian French and Nigel Baines deals with many of the arguments that kids (& adults!) put up to avoid reading - 'I don't have time' "I'm too old for pictures' 'Reading is hard' etc. The illustrations are full of life, colour and humour, I particularly liked the horse librarian but I hope it wasn't suggesting librarians are nags! Excellent reading encouragement from the first page to the last with some very valid points made, such as the need for kids to be able to see themselves in books - much better representation is needed of disabilities, all types of families, cultures and religions. This book should be in every primary school library/classroom and it's humorous tone would go down well in lower secondary too. Championing of comics throughout which really gets my seal of approval! All types of reading whether digital or paper are approved of in the books pages and the illustrations show every type and age of person you could think of along with some very cute animals. Nods to Harry Potter and Star Wars made me smile. All in all I just love this book and can thoroughly recommend it.
Now, I am not a political animal. Politics and politicians normally do not impinge on my life at all - yes I know that is a shameful admission but to quote Bob Dylan 'the times they are a changing'. This government seems to be contradicting themselves at every point, one moment saying literacy for all is one of their key goals, in the next breath taking away funding from organisations that promote reading and writing to young people. The latest ridiculous idea is that primary schools are to be given a set list of the books they must study - what a sensible idea that is ...not! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-13320661 How can you decide on certain books that will appeal to all children, boys and girls from every area and cultural diversity and who is going to make this decision? Surely we should have faith in teachers and librarians to have the specialist and local knowledge to be able to choose books to study that will appeal to children in their school without dictating to them about their book choices - after all they know the kids in their school best. Children are not 'one size fits all' and they are all at different stages in their reading journey, will this be taken into account? I suspect not. Having set texts at secondary school has had the effect of turning lots of young people away from reading - even a great work of literature that would normally appeal to a certain age group becomes boring and tedious when one 'has' to read and indeed, dissect it endlessly. Yes we should be encouraging children to read widely, there are so very many fantastic books written for primary kids from brilliant authors that really understand how to enthrall kids but to generalise and say 'all seven year olds should read this book' is quite ludicrous and will not encourage students to explore authors and genres to find things that excite, amuse maybe even terrify them and 'turn them on' to reading as a pleasure for life . If the government want to encourage more primary school kids to learn to love books perhaps they should be looking to ensure that every school has a visit every week from a knowledgeable, enthusiastic, qualified librarian - this would have far more impact than dictating which books should be studied.
My blog is a collection of thoughts and I hope you will learn something about me from the ramblings as well as finding some useful links. I'm Bev Humphrey and I'm a Literacy, School Libraries and Technology Consultant. I am self employed so views expressed are solely my own.
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