Image courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
As a newbie writer of short stories for children, I’ve been following Hertford Children’s Book Festival on Facebook lately and they made a really interesting comment the other day about their dismay at coming across people who said their children “don’t really want to go to a book thing”. Arghhhhh! Really? How can that be!
Let’s assume these parents appreciate all the wonderful benefits of reading, as to be fair I think most of us do these days, but it’s simply a case that no matter how hard they try their child just will not muster one ounce (or should it be gram nowadays!) of excitement for a pile of old books! So why are books so boring to children today? Is it the fact that reading a book requires taking life a little bit slower and switching off the TV or perhaps if it danced and sang to them at the same time it might be a bit more attractive? Or is it that it just takes too much effort and concentration?
There are so many other distractions for children today and I’ve no doubt all the electronic gadgets are only set to become even more addictive and fun in the future. So how can a book festival compete with these and change children’s views on books and reading? Do book festivals even have a place in a world of exciting electrical gadgets?
- Book festivals create a buzz around the town. There’s no escaping the atmosphere they bring with their long list of events to attend. It’s a social thing that no Wii or I Pad can offer. Seeing friends from school at the events getting fired up about books could have a knock on effect. It can be cool to like books.
- Book festivals are interactive. Whether that’s having a chat to an author about the quirky characters in their latest book, attending a story workshop or seeing a book dramatisation on stage, it brings the stories alive. Seeing the play might actually tweak a little bit of interest in reading the book itself afterwards – well it’s worth a try don’t you think?
- Meeting famous authors. Fame is always an exciting prospect for any child and hearing what a respected author has to say about the power of books could persuade your child to see them in a different light and find a reason to read.
- It’s like attending a giant book club! Talking about their favourite characters, laughing about the rude parts, finding out about new books on the market. Having others to share their views and opinions with can go a long way to making reading more fun.
What do you think would make books more appealing to your child?
Hertford Children’s Book Festival has come to an end now for 2014 but make a note of it in your diary for next year – http://hertfordchildrensbookfestival.co.uk/
Eyes peeled for my next blog: 10 Tips to Transform Your Reluctant Reader into a Master Reader.