It struck me recently that children are, hopefully, enjoying a bit more control over what they read.
Younger children almost always read books they have been given or had bought for them by their parents, family. That’s fine but there’s no choice involved. Okay, you can take them to the library (a great idea!) or the local book shop but they are still restricted by what someone else has decided to stock. This is only ever going to be a fraction of what is out there.
That’s why I am a big supporter of e-readers (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, etc), in particular the benefits of Amazon Prime Lending Library and Kindle Unlimited. A family with such subscriptions are ‘free’ to let their children download whatever they want to read (don’t worry, there are parental controls to restrict content, etc). Children can seek out a book they’ve heard of at school, read the number one bestseller or search for something with ‘dragon’ or ‘unicorn’ in the title and find something totally new.
Obviously, a child’s horizons will open up as they get older and more curious but, ultimately, children will only read for themselves if they like what they read. Their own choice could well be as hit-and-miss as those buying for them but the freedom to download their own choice via a Kindle is, I think, a good thing. With content controlled and cost fixed (the price of one paperback book each month in the UK), hopefully parents are allowing their Kindle-clad kids to explore what there is to offer out there from many fantastic children’s authors.