This was a prompt given by Plinky this week. I glance at the Plinky digest when I’m feeling a bit low on inspiration and this question caught my interest.
But one book that all children should read?
A very clever man named Dr. Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan (1892–1972) invented in 1931 the Five Laws of Library Science:
1. Books are for use.
2. Every reader his [or her] book.
3. Every book its reader.
5. Save the time of the reader.
6. The library is a growing organism.
When I read the Plinky prompt rules three and four leapt into my mind. How could there be one book that every child should read? There is a book that speaks uniquely to a child at that time in their life and should be found to read by that child regardless of well-meaning adults.
Would I make a down to earth kid with no interest in fantasy worlds suffer through the Narnia Chronicles? Of course, not though I think as many kids as possible should read them. Would I give Bridge to Terabithia to a kid who’s lost a friend….maybe?
This leads us down the very personal, very specialised field of Readers’ Advisory. It’s what libraries are good at and should excel in as specialists of the book. So, what would a Reader Advisor want to see kids reading… whatever they like, but we can help narrow down the choice.
I wrote about gateways here, the four things that keep us reading a story:
Character, Language, Setting and Story
These four are found in all forms of entertainment including movies and video games. With little effort and an interesting conversation about the movies and games you like best a Readers’ Advisor can get a pretty good idea of your interests.
With children, you have their further complication of their maturity and age which are not the same thing. Two thirteen year old girls could read Judy Blume’s Forever but they both might not be ready for it.
So what book would I give a child to read, anything they like, but I’d love to have a little chat about it first.
Maya Angelou has a great quote I’ll leave you with: