Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Kids and Books

As a true book person - one who loves the smell of ink on paper, loves the feel of opening a new book and carefully unfolding the pages, and adores getting caught up in a story and being swept away - it saddens me that some people think that books are somehow becoming antiquated, or a concept whose time is limited and will go the way of the Hula Hoop - (once popular, and now only an oddity.)

I recently heard of a couple who bought their ten-year-old a Kindle, noting that she wouldn't need books from now on. Worse yet, they remarked that they didn't need to vote in favor of a new library, because libraries themselves will not be around for long. What? As someone whose love of reading developed from frequent trips to the library (Thanks, Mom!) and from the privilege of carrying home (for free) stacks of library books to peruse at my leisure (therefore solidifying my own taste in reading) I find this short-sighted and Just. Plain. Wrong.

I have no problem with e-readers, and if some people prefer them, that's great. But the fun of sorting through bookcases, carts, racks and stacks, of perusing and pulling out and opening all kinds of different books is a freedom we should not only allow, but encourage in every child today. Experiencing the variety of covers, sizes, shapes and smells of books can (and should be) one of the great joys of a child's existence.

Let's not take that away from them on the grounds of "being modern."

What about you? Do you read on an e-reader or do you favor actual books?

Do you think libraries filled with real, tangible books are important to kids today?


Sandy Williams said...

Yeah, I think kids need to be able to hold books in their hands, turn the pages, read printed material, etc. I think it's important for their development.

That said, I really want to get my own e-reader. We have a Kindle, but my husband pretty much has it all the time. It's kind of hard to schedule us finishing books at the same time so we can switch from real book to e-book. I'm trying really hard not to buy real books right now because I'm out of shelf space. I want to start reading everything on the e-reader, and then just buying copies of my absolute favorites for authors to sign. So, I'll be sort of collecting books instead of buying books solely for reading purposes. Does that make sense?

Susan said...

I was shocked when I saw the library at the local high school. There aren't any books in it. I'll always read real books, but each to his/her own.

And the hula hoop has been having a resurgence.

Linda Benson said...

Sandy - Yes, you already love reading, and are using your e-reader as a convenience, and collecting books as valuable things (Yay!) And I know you can probably hardly wait to buy (real) books for your new kiddos *grin*

Susan - no books in the high school library? You mean not very many books - or none? Huh? And yay for hula hoops - I always thought they were cool ;)

Dreaming said...

I confess my guilt - I have a Kindle and I can read books on my iPad. BUT, I LOVE the smell of books - weird, huh? Sometimes just a particular odor will remind me of much of the story in the book! I'm also very visual and love cover illustrations. I have occasionally purchased a book thinking I hadn't read it, only to find out that a new edition with a new illustration has come out!
My parents were not keen on buying books. But I can remember how special it was to buy the few they allowed. I even remember their titles!

Linda Benson said...

Dreaming - oh, I don't think you ever need to feel guilty. However a person chooses to read is fine, and if e-readers mean more people than ever read, that's a good thing. But it's interesting to me how all of the senses are involved in a real, paper book. Not only the sense of touch, but like you mentioned, the sense of smell, and the pure joy of seeing the cover and the illustrations. Holding and reading an actual book is a sensory experience, and that lends to its pleasure, I think.