Saturday, 9 May 2015

Children need good stories

A good part of the last eight years or so have been spend reading children's stories. A good part of my own childhood was spent reading or having children's stories read to me. All of this is good, children need to have stories read to them, I enjoying reading to them, but not all children's stories are good.

Some are completely fantastic, so good that you really don't mind re-reading for the squillionth time. So good that you don't fall apart when they pick up that same book, night after night. So good that you don't develop a facial tic when you discover that you can recite the whole book word for word without looking at the book once.

Others are not good at all. In fact they are an insult to children (and parents who read to them) everywhere. Some are so bad that I have been known to hide them, or loose them conveniently, when no one else was looking.

The problem is that some printers, or shops, or publishers, or whoever it is has made the decision to make the book, think that it doesn't actually matter how good a story for children is. Of these really rubbish books don't feature an author, just some 'cute' (perhaps to some people) pictures and a vague attempt at a story, but which really doesn't entertain or thrill children at all.

Often these books are directed at small children, ones who don't really know the difference between a good or bad book. You might think that it doesn't matter. But it does. While they haven't yet realised that what you're reading them is actually complete rubbish, soon they will. Worse still, if that's all they have access too, then perhaps they won't, but perhaps also they weren't learn to appreciate good stories and develop a love of books.

Children deserve and need good stories. Parents who read to their children also deserve good stories. If you're buying a book for a child, particularly a picture book, take a second to take a look at it. Is it a good story, does it make you laugh,or cry, or feel excited? Of is it just a nothing? Don't fall into the trap of thinking 'well, it's just a kids book' pick the good books. They're the ones worth buying, children (and parents) will thank you for it.

Children need good stories