In a really fantastic speech about the need to read, Neil Gaiman (among a great many other things) says this: –
I was in China in 2007, at the first party-approved science fiction and fantasy convention in Chinese history. And at one point I took a top official aside and asked him Why? SF had been disapproved of for a long time. What had changed?
It’s simple, he told me. The Chinese were brilliant at making things if other people brought them the plans. But they did not innovate and they did not invent. They did not imagine. So they sent a delegation to the US, to Apple, to Microsoft, to Google, and they asked the people there who were inventing the future about themselves. And they found that all of them had read science fiction when they were boys or girls.
Yes! I knew there was a good reason for reading Sci-fi! It’s so true, though. Look at the number of things we have these days that you first saw in the original series of Star Trek! Okay, clever clogs, we don’t have warp drive but we do have tricorders – things that scan you and take your blood pressure, etc – and communicators – mobile phones. If you don’t believe me, read this article on ScienceFocus.com.
The wider lesson though – to read and the benefits of doing so – are eloquently expounded by the Great Gaiman and I encourage anyone with children or an interest in reading (and preserving libraries) to read the excellent article on the Guardian website – HERE.
As can be seen from other posts of mine, I am passionate about getting children to read. Incidentally, your children can’t go wrong with a bit of Gaiman… Coraline and Stardust are my favourites.