With the state of politics in America and the world turning a scary extreme right it’s more important than ever to read, educate and open our children’s minds to the diversity of the world. Read them books, open libraries, let the words of the writers, philosophers, healers, mystics, poets and dreamers reach their ears.
What can you do?
1. Support your local library. Take out books, enquire about children’s reading hours, support and raise funds when needed.
2. Give books as gifts. To everyone – especially those that may not receive books easily. Go to Book Dash or Shine Literacy or the Link Literacy projects and find out how to gift books to those in need. Give books to your employee’s and their children, to your local community centre, to the service staff at your children’s schools, to everyone you can reach out to.
3. Encourage discussions with your children about world issues. Order National Geographic and other magazines that showcase issues around the world. Ask them their opinion. Help them understand how the world works. Try not to dictate what they believe – let them decide by looking at all sides of a story or issue.
4. Read bigger books to your children to encourage them to expand their reading repertoire. Help them with the vocabulary and ideas behind the books if needed. Introduce them to books about issues. Discuss racism, sexism, homophobia and more. Teach them about The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. If you don’t, someone else will, and they might not explain it the way you would like them to understand it.
5. Take a box of books on holiday or stock up the iPad or Kindle. Schedule reading time every day – even when they’d rather be on the beach or playing games. Make this a non-negotiable but fun aspect of the holiday. A quiet spot, a cup of tea and a cookie and a reading record with rewards all help on the road to reading.
* UK child Laureate Chris Riddell, is on a mission to encourage children’s libraries not to close – a sadly growing trend in the UK.