Once upon a time in 2010, I posted this small essay written by a friend of mine, Kevin Whelan. Kevin has great enthusiasm and support for childrens' reading. We are always discussing what is new out in childrens' books, what we think of it and, most importantly, what the readers are saying. This post is one of the top 3 'hits' on Fallen Star Stories, and it's one I go back to when I feel in need of support and energy as a childrens' book enthusiast. (We all need a boost every now and again, and sometimes it does feel like I'm talking to myself....but not after reading this.)
I thought I'd post it again here, as a reminder to me, to you, my dear readers and as a 'thank you' to Kevin. You have touched a lot of lives with this post. In fact, you have touched 14,490 lives, Kevin. Well done!
WHAT TO TELL SOMEONE WHO ‘HATES’ READING
By Kevin Whelan
When I was a child (not a ‘kid’: as my nephew Ciaran Whelan always
reminds me, “A kid is a goat”) a book was a fantastic thing to hold in
one’s hands; turning the cover for the first time was like opening a
secret door and stepping through into…what? And where? Somehow I knew
that I could leave my life and its Sunday night school worries and other
various minor troubles behind: for a few minutes or hours, I could
engage in a form of nothing less than time travel.
I mean how cool was that?
It was always really exciting to turn the pages and see where the
author took me. It was as though they had gently taken my hand: I was
going to have to trust them as much as they were going to trust me. I
knew unpredictable and downright crazy things were going to happen.
Better than that: I would meet real heroes and real villains and have
adventures, real adventures, and feel happy and scared, and all sorts of
A good book was even a kind of food substitute; it fed my
imagination and my heart. Good books still do. Which is a pretty
incredible deal when you think about it. And they’re additive and
calorie free. Organic too, I wouldn’t bet.
Another thing: Reading should be a pleasurable, enjoyable experience.
If you find a particular book ‘boring’ or too ‘difficult’ for you at
the time, don’t feel that you have‘failed’. You will not have. Put it aside or, pass it on to a friend. After all there are other books to read, thousands and thousands of them—thank God. Sometimes you have to be ‘ready’ for a
book, the way you need to be ‘ready’ when certain people come into your
life—the good and the bad—and have the intelligence to recognise which
is which: The ‘boring’ or ‘difficult’ book might one day turn out to be
the ‘exciting’ and ‘easy’ book. The same of course applies to people.
And if you don’t understand what I mean now then you might, one
day—though I also accept that some books and some people are both
‘boring’ and ‘difficult’—and bad too. But you can’t have everything.
But perhaps the simplest thing to tell someone who ‘hates’ reading is
“I feel really sorry for you—you don’t know what you’re missing.”
But we do.