Why the World Needs Children’s Literature, and Why You Should Write It
What was the first story you fell in love with? Was it about a princess who found her true love, pirates burying their treasure, or perhaps dragons protecting their cave?
Who was it that showed you the power of the written word? Did you sit, mesmerized, on your grandmother’s lap as she read you nursery rhymes? Was it your mother at bedtime? Or your father as he bounced you on his knee and growled as he read a book about a monster?
While you may not have been able to read every word, or not read it the way Grandma did, you could see the dragons, smell the smoke, and feel the anxiety mounting. But children’s literature is more than just fun stories that entertain our youth. These stories are vital.
The National Institute for Literacy states five reasons reading, or being read to, is important for children:
From several decades of research, we have learned a lot about how children learn to read and write. This research tells us that to become skilled and confident readers over time, young children need lots of opportunities to: 1) Build spoken language by talking and listening, 2) Learn about print and books, 3) Learn about the sounds of spoken language (phonological awareness), 4) Learn about the letters of the alphabet, and 5) Listen to books read aloud. (“A Child Becomes a Reader,” http://lincs.ed.gov/publications/publications.html)
But, as important as reading children’s literature is for children to become skillful in reading and writing, there is much more that the authors of these stories are providing for our children.
If we dream of a better future and a more peaceful and understanding world, then we must begin teaching the next generation for they are our future. Writing children’s books are a way for the author to share his dream with the rising generation and teach them, broaden their vision, instill new ideas, and solidify morals.
Barbara Freedman-DeVito, an expert on children’s books and literature, said: “Through books, children can also learn about people and places from other parts of the world, improving their understanding of and concern for all of humanity. This, in turn, contributes towards our sense that we truly live in a ‘global village’ and may help us bring about a more peaceful future for everyone.” She also stated that, “Stories help children’s imaginations come to life and open up exciting new worlds of fantasy or reality. They allow children to dream.” (http://www.familyresource.com/parenting/child-development/why-reading-is-so-important-for-children)
Authors of children’s books help children develop a life-long love for reading, learning, critical thinking, dreaming, and creating. Writing children’s books has the power to shape children’s minds by planting ideas, sparking ingenuity, and igniting passion.
First Lady Laura Bush at the Early Childhood Cognitive Summit stated, “A friend who is a teacher says, ‘Reading is the new civil right.’ A child who can read is a child who can dream about the future… and make that dream come true.” (Little Rock, Arkansas on April 30, 2002)
In short, children’s book authors shape young minds, and young minds shape our future. And this is the literature that is the most important to our society.