Why not try a book …. go on, pick one up.

As our kids are getting bombarded with games and more tv channels than there are hours in a day, the lowly old paper and ink book seems to be slipping out of popularity.

I love books – in an obsessive compulsive way.  I buy books because I love the smell and the feel of them. I always have a book nearby – like an emergency parachute to save me from idle time, or stupid people when the conversation really reaches an impasse.

I can spend an entire afternoon at a book store, and still feel that I was “rushed” – money spent on books is never a waste.  I have a book shelf in each child’s room, and they are crammed with books.  Granted there are story books which have become colouring-in books, but that besides they still work as reading books, through the crayons.

I love reading more than pretty much anything else.

If you can combine wine, chocolate and books then you have a corner of what I would call heaven.  If I have nothing to read in the toilet, I read the instructions on the “air freshener” can – dude, I gotta read — like must!!!

With Kindles, ipads and what ever else, the idea of paper and ink book is in fear of extinction or the very least a decline.  Why read when you can watch the movie, or have a voice read it to you, and all you have to do is do the “swish” when the “digital” page turns?

I feel strongly that books are important.  I think that kids who are brought up without books, and without a love of reading are missing out.  I am not sure how to qualify or quantify it, but I think that a generation without books will be poorer.

Characters I have created are far more real and have more depth and “substance” than nearly every character-created-from-a-book-and-put-on-the-screen by a clever bloke or blokette in Hollywood.

If you have a kid at school, suggest an initiative to the teacher that every child in the class, donate a book to the school’s library on her or his birthday. That way the classes’ library increases by 24/26 books a year.  How cool and simple is that?  And how much does everyone benefit?  A great deal.

You can pick up a really good book at Bargain Books for R20.00 – R60.00 — some real gems there.  Books and stories that don’t age.

The more kids are exposed to books, the more likely they are to respect them and build a keen love of them.  The more they love books, the more they love reading, the more they love reading, the more they love books, the more they read and so it goes.

Time reading is never wasted.  That is unless the time was spent reading Shantaram, then consider it a total waste of time, and I feel your pain!

Instead of toys, give books for birthdays.

My friend Tanya Roberts who lives in New Zealand sent books to Connor when he was a baby, and I have passed those books to Georgia and then on to Isabelle, and I still read them.  She introduced me to The Gruffalo and I am eternally grateful.  Without a doubt my favourite story.

She also sent me Hairy Maclary books – another character who has crept into our story times.  I in turn have gone on to buy these books for other children.

Toys we were given have been discarded or broken, but the books we have been given, are still with us, and when the books are passed where my kids use them, I pack them up and donate them to a needed pre-school or children’s library at a hospital.

I have a Kindle, and as much as I love reading, I realised that part of the “reading” process is selecting the book, and holding that book in my hands. The Kindle has been relogated to the drawer of my desk, sadly seldom seeing the light of day.

I think that if we do not actively develop a love of reading in our children from a very young age, they will grow up thinking that watching the movie, or listening to the story on which ever device they have access to is so much “easier” than boring reading, and in turn they will be robbed of the experience of exercising their imagination.  And more importantly learn to read and spell using all the letters of the alphabet.

Go on, develop a love of reading in your child – even if you are not a great fan ….