This is me.
This is my soapbox.
Yesterday, while I sat with another author selling books at Evansville Pop Con, we overheard some very disturbing things. No less than five times, we heard parents tell their kids that they didn’t need to spend their money on books. Granted, I’m not going to sell my work to young kids, but these were upper teens who can handle a little blood. This bothered me quite a bit. In this day and age where kids would rather play video games and mess around on their phones and computers constantly, why are some parents blocking their teens from buying a book? These kids have hundreds of dollars worth of game systems and electronic gear, but a parent is going to get upset and bring a girl to tears over a $10 book she wants to buy with her own money?
To show how bad it was, one girl bought a book in secret as her father was forcing her to leave the con. She said if she has a chance later, she’d come back and buy more. I believe it is a sad state when a teenager has to buy books in secret and plot to escape so they can buy more later. Would this same parent bat an eye if little Johnny asked for an ultra-violent $60 video game? I’m guessing not.
My point is this, we live in a society where reading is becoming less and less important to the young. Why read when the world doesn’t expect you to read anymore? Technology is not a bad thing, but when it is used as a crutch and the words and tales that spur our imagination and creativity are stifled by it, there is a problem. In the news we can hear all about failing test scores and how much our schools are falling behind. What do we honestly expect when at homes across the country reading is being shoved into the closet?
Parents should encourage their children from an early age to read. Not only read, but read everything they can. I want my sons to devour as many books as they can lay their hands on. Reading helps kids to communicate better and as the world grows smaller, being able to read, write, and communicate effectively is becoming more and more important.
So, let them read.
Don’t discourage a kid who wants to crack that spine and let their imaginations roam in new lands with the new friends they meet in the pages. Be an example and read yourself. Make reading a family activity. Haunt the library and roam the shelves whenever you can. When you can have the kids turn off the games and turn on their minds through reading, you can help them grow socially and intellectually.
Thanks for hearing me out. Now go and crack open that book you’ve been wanting to start and I’m going to finish another one for you to read later. I hope your ‘To Be Read’ pile is to the ceiling…