Share A Story; Read Together; Change A Life

Inis Reading Guide 2018 - Share A Story
In September each year, Childrens Books Ireland (CBI) launches its' annual reading campaign with the publication of the Inis Reading Guide. All ages, reading abilities, genres and interests are  addressed with hundreds of reviews and recommendations from childrens books experts, presenting the best of childrens books. I am always excited to take part in the incentive, as I know all of my colleagues are.
Throughout October, this is celebrated with authors/illustrators/storytellers visiting schools, libraries, bookshops and literature fairs and festivals across Ireland to emphasise the importance and the joy of reading for children.
And as we enter the cold, dark winter months (with the holidays hot on our heels and the quandaries of gift-giving even more present), the gift of 'Sharing A Story' takes on a greater importance.
My sister reading to her grandchildren. One picture is worth a thousand words.
This year, the theme of CBIs' reading campaign is "Share A Story", particularly celebrating the bond between grandparents and grandchildren and  the importance of cultivating the relationships across generations. I was delighted to have some reviews included in the specially-curated section at the front of the guide designed to highlight this inter-generational relationship. It is fun, thoughtful and filled with wonderful books for every age level that create a path between young and old. While so many books seem to push the parent-child relationship to one side; parents do have a tendency to get in the way of a good story with their worries, rules and regulations and the 'busy-ness' of providing sometimes obstructs the importance of just being present. The relationship between young and old appear with great frequency. They have much to give each other; knowledge, experience, energy, courage and fun. The older and younger show great interest in each other lives, their experiences and their needs. This is to be nurtured and encouraged, for this interest benefits both in so many ways. For children, they can learn empathy and gain understanding, develop their innate curiosity and get a sense of history, both personal and global. For the grandparents, it enlivens them, creates better health (physically and mentally), relieves loneliness, enhances a sense of self-worth and helps develop a sense of 'what is happening now and what happens next. The bond created and the love shared is an amazing thing to see. And confidence is gained by both. This can be seen, not just in the act of sharing stories in the presence of each other, but in the stories themselves, which is important as so many grandparents and grandchildren don't have access to each other on a regular basis...they can be quite isolated from each other in the contemporary world. Books are a way to close that gap and bring a greater understanding and consideration; a greater compassion into what can seem to be overwhelmingly busy times.
I've said this before, and no doubt will say it again. READ TO EACH OTHER. SHARE books with each other. We have no idea of the impact we are making. It is huge. It lasts a lifetime; it crosses generations. And please don't think I am only speaking to grandparents here. This intergenerational link is one to be fostered by everyone; parents, aunties and uncles, libraries, school classrooms...all you not-grandparenting adults out there; this is for you, too. Every school should have a designated quiet reading time and story-sharing time. Every home should have a story-sharing time everyday. What's 20 minutes out of our busy lives to create this special bond and share time with each other? (Great way to de-stress as well.)
Here are a few of the books, taken directly from the Inis Reading Guide that will help you. Just of few of my very favourites for building bonds and understanding...

THE BUILDING BOY by Ross Montgomery, illustrated by David Litchfield

ALFIE AND GRANDMA, written and illustrated by Shirley Hughes

GRANDAD'S ISLAND, written and illustrated by Benji Davies



And in case you think these books focus only on younger or middle-grade readers, here's a couple of my favourites for young adults:
HOUR OF THE BEES by Lindsay Eager

UNBECOMING by Jenny Downham

But there are so many more wonderful books in the Reading Guide; so many wonderful books to share with each other. If you want a copy of the Inis Reading Guide of your own; and it is an extremely valuable resource to have; you can check in your local bookshop or follow the link below for the Childrens Books Ireland website, where you'll find this guide available and so much more!
Now....what book will you share today? There's no time like the present.


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