My friend and writer, Marty Graham was in a bookstore reading through picture books to see what was out there, when she overheard a mother talking--lecturing--her son about his choice of preferred book. This is what Marty heard the mother say:
"That's not a real book."
And then Marty heard something behind her being moved back to a shelf. She wrote:
"By the time I turned to sneak my peak, mother and son were gone. The closest display was of paperback middle grades. I could have gone through them, or looked further (where had her voice come from? what shelf? what display?). I could have spent time looking for clues. Maybe it really hadn't been a book? But then...."
This is what Marty thought:
"I will never know. I stood a moment, thinking, 'that's what occurred in the children's book section at the Barnes and Noble Bookstore?. Fun to wonder, but So scary. So mysterious. Do you remember the famous line in the movie Crocodile Dundee, when Dundee unsheathes an incredible Australian wackywoo to a couple of NY Bronx street thugs?? He said: "That's no knife.........................THIS is a knife."
What the heck is a real book anyway? And should we really care what our children read as long as they are reading? My brother and I used to read the back of cereal boxes during breakfast--would the mother Marty overheard consider that "real" reading or "fake" reading? Honestly, what difference does what each of us chooses to read in our spare time make? Even pornography--if you, me, we- want to read it, or trashy romance, or comic books who cares? (And if we tell the truth, isn't learning a someone reads odd/surprising stuff fun?)
Isn't our goal to teach them: our children, our citizens, our tax payers, our fellow humans--all of them--to read? So they can comprehend/access information themselves...learn the facts...judge the situations (healthcare in the U.S. included)--and make informed decisions? To that end, isn't it more beneficial for children to be entertained by reading--"real" and not "real" books alike (cereal boxes even)--so they will want to keep reading and by doing so learn to read better?
What is "real" reading? What is a "read" book? Should "real" really matter?
Oh my gosh! Look there! It's a book...with words....pictures...ideas....help! Quick! Someone....everyone....
LET THEM READ IT!