Random News: Neil Gaiman on Libraries, Literacy, and Imagination

Hello lovely Readers,

Having just seen the awesome Neil Gaiman (and taken a photo with his wife, Amanda Palmer), when I saw this article I couldn’t not share! The piece is called, “Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming.” You can read the full article by clicking on the article title. The topic is one that is very close to my heart. I am a very frequent library patron to several libraries (in at least 2 countries), and strongly believe that children should be encouraged to read anything and suffer through very little censorship.

In the article Gaiman talks about how important literacy is for our future. There are apparently links between illiteracy rates and future criminality (I haven’t checked his sources, so I cannot confirm this). There is also the scary fact that in England the older generation is more literate than the young one, which is not a good sign.  He also talks about how fiction and reading for pleasure helps with imagination, literacy, and empathy. While it was difficult, I picked a couple quotes from the article that really spoke to me, although honestly I was highlighting every word! Please make sure you read the whole essay!

“There are no bad authors for children, that children like and want to read and seek out, because every child is different. They can find the stories they need to, and they bring themselves to stories. A hackneyed, worn-out idea isn’t hackneyed and worn out to them. This is the first time the child has encountered it. Do not discourage children from reading because you feel they are reading the wrong thing.”

“Fiction can show you a different world. It can take you somewhere you’ve never been. Once you’ve visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in. Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different.”

“And while we must tell our readers true things and give them weapons and give them armour and pass on whatever wisdom we have gleaned from our short stay on this green world, we have an obligation not to preach, not to lecture, not to force predigested morals and messages down our readers’ throats like adult birds feeding their babies pre-masticated maggots; and we have an obligation never, ever, under any circumstances, to write anything for children that we would not want to read ourselves.”

Until next time,

 

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About Lynne

I am currently a PhD student of Forensic Psychology, which may explain the off mix of extremely morbid books sitting next to children’s books. Hailing from the Midwest in the United States of America, I have now lived in England for over 2 years (which will explain any strange grammar usage). From a very young age, my parents cultivated a love of reading, and never restricted what I read. When I reached middle school I began reading Shakespeare (a lifelong love affair), but had also discovered the wonders of young adult fiction. While the world may now expect me to read books more reflective of my age, I have fought this and am a strong supporter of the YA novel! Despite having very little free time, I still sets aside time for a reading every evening, and listens to books on my way to University. I dream of one day being a published novelist and published scientist!

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