Everywhere, kids are seen gripping the latest media device, mesmerized by whatever image displays itself there. In fact, the younger the child, the more adept he or she appears with the tablet. Does this mean kids are turning from books?
Some would say so … a definite “Yes!” But interestingly, books themselves suggest otherwise. In fact, book sizes have increased as page counts grow for children’s books.
How could that happen if kids don’t read?
Thank J.K. Rowling for saving children’s books and urging the popularity that kid’s books are cool — even with high page counts.
According to The Guardian, J.K. Rowling is credited for keeping children’s books competitive with hefty page counts designed to keep the reader engaged in the story:
… The success of Harry Potter as a major reason for the increase in length of children’s novels, with the first book in Rowling’s record-breaking series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, published in 1997. Booklist contributing editor and author Ilene Cooper said the popularity of the fantasy genre itself also skews the average. “Fantasies tend to be really long,” Cooper said. “Authors are building another world. Readers of fantasy want to get lost in those worlds.”
This is great news for kids! As authors work to create stories that pull the child into the magic of books, page count will become less important as imaginations fly.
Caroline Horn, editor of the children’s books resource, The Reading Zone, had this to say about lengthier children’s books:
The belief was that children had quite short attention spans and wouldn’t cope with longer stories,” she said. “Harry Potter opened publishers’ eyes a bit. The pagination increase was down to “the Harry Potter effect”.
How awesome is that?
Reading for fun is not a thing of the past, and solid stories with strong characters and gripping plots have a place in the hearts of our children. Authors have indeed become better writers, particularly of children’s stories. And kids’ exposure to all forms of the written word has expanded. Tablets filled with good books are a child’s best tool, particularly with the child’s interest in technology’s newest gadgets.
Let them have ’em, we say, but fill ’em with books … and lots of ’em. Let’s support great books together — let’s read children’s books!