Saturday, February 26, 2011

Because Kids Need Books

It is well documented that children need to read. They need to be encouraged and coddled and reminded to read once they know how. When my daughter was little I worried about how I was going to teach her to read. It's a challenging prospect, 26 letters with varying sounds are put into groups that make their own sounds and have myriad meanings. It's complex but somehow it happens. I read a lot of cookbooks when Pearl was a baby, it was all I could handle in my sleep deprived state. She watched me and would pick up my books and run her fingers along the lines of type mimicking reading. It was a miracle. I read to her everyday, everyday. If I didn't read to her I felt like I had neglected her in a very profound way. Eventually she went to school and she read with ease and I felt like a champion. Kids books are great but they are often pretty safe, all inclusive and soft, everything is rainbows and sunshine. This is where Edward Gorey comes in to play. I was introduced to the works of Edward Gorey-perhaps incorrectly-as a child. They were picture books ostensibly, accompanied by short descriptions of said pictures. I didn't get that they were dark as I was a pensive child but I got that they were funny and rhymed and the people were odd looking and they spoke to me. Kids need books but they need variety too and so I recommend the above book. It's ominous but so is life and kids need real information, it also contains useful life lessons for those lucky enough to postpone inevitable death.

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