Neil Gaiman has a truly excellent article in today's Guardian about the importance of reading and libraries. (I found it via a post by PragmaticMom on Facebook). The text is from a speech that Gaiman gave at The Reading Agency, a UK nonprofit "whose mission is to give everyone an equal chance in life by helping people become confident and enthusiastic readers. Because everything changes when we read."
It's a long piece, and so, so quotable. Like this:
Fiction has two uses. Firstly, it's a gateway drug to reading. The drive to know what happens next, to want to turn the page, the need to keep going, even if it's hard, because someone's in trouble and you have to know how it's all going to end … that's a very real drive. And it forces you to learn new words, to think new thoughts, to keep going. To discover that reading per se is pleasurable. Once you learn that, you're on the road to reading everything. And reading is key."
"The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them."
And of course the quote that I included as an image above, which is my very favorite part. And so much more (I haven't even touched upon the part about libraries).
If you care about raising kids who love books, and/or writing books, and/or supporting libraries, go and read Neil Gaiman's lecture. Then share it with other people who either do care about these things, or who should. I would like to see this talk make into a little booklet, and distributed widely. Gaiman is an excellent ambassador for literacy and the love of reading. If only more people would hear his message. Go! Read!