I may be stepping into a hotbed of controversy here. Let me begin by saying that I'm certainly not opposed to technology (this is a blog, after all... though I am allergic to twitter), and I can see many advantages. However, the influx of e-books and i-readers, particularly when it comes to picture books and children's novels, I have some real concerns that come from an understanding of literacy development in young children.
This blog entry, 'Books Without Batteries: the negative impact of technology', by Bill Henderson is from Publishers Weekly, and it addresses briefly literacy development, but the strength of it's discussion lies within the statistics of the environmental impact.... well worth a read.
Ever wonder what an e-reader is? Here's a quote:
"Here's what an e-reader is: a battery-operated slab, about a pound, one-half inch thick, perhaps with an aluminum border, rubberized back, plastic, metal, silicon, a bit of gold, plus rare metals such as columbite-tantalite (Google it) ripped from the earth, often in war-torn Africa. To make one e-reader requires 33 pounds of minerals, plus 79 gallons of water to refine the minerals and produce the battery and printed writing. The production of other e-reading devices such as cellphones, iPads, and whatever new gizmo will pop up in the years ahead is similar. "The adverse health impacts [on the general public] from making one e-reader are estimated to be 70 times greater than those for making a single book," says the Times."Also, I'm going to paraphrase Julia Donaldson on children's picture books on e-readers, which I think is very apt. She said that she didn't believe picture books should be presented to young children as e-readers, "just because we can."