“If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.”
I love reading. I have always loved reading and it brings me so much joy. My parents were readers and there were always lots of books in the house. My Mom and my aunt were always swapping books and I read all their Maeve Binchy’s in my early teens. Firefly Summer was a particular favourite, I think I was a little in love with Kerry O’Neill!
Seeing my children discovering books and enjoying reading truly rocks my world now. Getting lost in a good book is pure escapism for the mind. Being able to switch off, relax and read is really a gift.
My 11 year old is a natural reader. He devours books. He has read all the Harry Potter books, all the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, David Walliams, Ger Siggins Atlantis books, the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer, Percy Jackson and all the Rick Riordan books and many many more. He needed very little encouragement from me, he loved books from the start. I love watching his thought processes on what to read. Sometimes while reading a long series like Harry Potter or Artemis Fowl, he will take a break and re-read some Diary of Wimpy Kid books, or even Dogman or a David Walliams book. He re-reads all the time. Its like he picks books depending on his mood or level of energy, etc. Sometimes he can concentrate more than others. Its fascinating and it makes me think that I do something very similar. I don’t re-read books anymore, but often, I’ll pick a book that’s an easier read than another, depending on my mood.
Reading doesn’t always come naturally to some people. Some people aren’t brought up in a house of readers or maybe they just don’t see books on subjects that interest them to get them hooked. It is never too late to start reading. The East 17 band member, Tony Mortimer, who recently turned 50, has been tweeting about how he read his first novel during lockdown. He then proceeded to read many more and has now turned his hand to writing! His song writing ability was clear for all to see during the East 17 years so I’m sure he will turn his hand to writing with aplomb as well.
Sometimes, just one good book will see children bitten with the reading bug. My own daughter didn’t take to reading as quickly or easily as her older brother. I searched for books for her that would be a manageable length when she was seven. I found the Isadora Moon series, and we used to read it together at bed time. The first book took us a while, but slowly but surely she got there and now she happily reads the Isadora Moon books and many others all by herself. It was around this time that the idea for my Izzy books started to take shape, as I realised that there were very few books for children around the age of 7/8 with a female sporting character in a lead role.
I wanted to make my books manageable for a child in First/Second class to read by themselves. I settled on a 32 page long format with lots of lovely illustrations also. I thought it was important to promote, not only reading to children that age, but also sport and activity and to give them a book about a topic that they enjoyed.
One mother told me that she could never get her daughter to read a book, but that when she started reading Izzy’s Magical Football Adventure, that she almost had to take it away from her at bedtime, as she wouldn’t go to sleep at all, as she kept reading!
This was just music to my ears. For this child, Izzy was the catalyst to get her reading, as it was about a topic that she is passionate about, football. For another child, it could be a different topic. But there is nearly always some topic that will spark the reading bug in a child.
Another father recently told me that my Izzy books were a light bulb moment for his daughter. She instantly connected with and related to Izzy and has been reading continuously since. Harry Potter is on her horizon now.
This is not just about my Izzy books. Reading is an escape, a break, a gift for the mind. I am not a book snob, that drives me mad. I just love to see people read. The derogatory comments that are sometimes seen on Twitter about David Walliams books annoy me, as most children I speak to love his books. They are often the catalyst to get children reading and then they move onto lots of other books. I truly believe that there is a reader in everyone, sometimes we just need to find the key to open the treasure chest. And it is well worth the search.
“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.”