Neil Gaiman: Let children read the books they love
|Lucas reading R.L. Stine|
When my almost 8-year-old son chose R.L. Stine's Weirdo Halloween at the bookstore the other day, I hesitated for a milisecond but bought it anyway. The cover is freaky but it looked like fun and after all we are right smack in the middle of the Halloween season. Why not? He devoured it in two days. I asked him what he thought of it and he said, "It was a little bit scary but very exciting!" He gave the book a full five stars.
It's interesting that reading this book coincided with Neil Gaiman's brilliant lecture on why our future depends on reading, libraries and daydreaming. At one point, Gaiman said, "I don't think there is such a thing as a bad book for children." Every now and again there was a fashion for saying that Enid Blyton or RL Stine was a bad author or that comics fostered illiteracy. It's tosh. It's snobbery and it's foolishness."
He added: "Well-meaning adults can easily destroy a child's love of reading. Stop them reading what they enjoy or give them worthy-but-dull books that you like – the 21st-century equivalents of Victorian 'improving' literature – you'll wind up with a generation convinced that reading is uncool and, worse, unpleasant." I wholeheartedly agree. Thank you Neil Gaiman for this wonderful speech!
For an edited version of Gaiman's lecture click here.