Book Week is amongst us. Any other year it’s a week of dress ups, Storytime and a lack of parking around primary schools—so it may look a little bit different this time around. But one thing that doesn’t change is the point of Book Week—to get reading.
For some of us, this is easy. Some of us love books and words, and everything that they have to offer. I love how the simplest words can be the most powerful. Love and Hate, for instance. Us. You. I. Sorry. They are the words that can strike us hard, for better or for worse.
Naturally, I want my kids to love words too. Especially when my youngest has been known to use some of the less respectable words on offer.
So, when my daughter was a baby, I started taking her to Storytime at our local library. I would sit amongst all the other tired parents, madly in love and determined to be doing everything ‘right’. We had this impossibly enthusiastic librarian who always reminded us flailing parents, “You’re never alone if you have a book.”
Maybe I felt alone, maybe I’d known lonely too well, but I was desperate for my daughter to love books like I did. And she did. I thought it ‘worked’, this idea that if you read books to kids, they will love reading and follow the paths of words to amazing places …
But I was naive. Love and reading, is not for everyone.
My son ... not a book lover.
I took him to the same library. We read the same books. I assumed, with this recipe of success, it was in the bag and he would love books too. But if a book doesn’t mention bums or farts, he’s just not interested.
Not to be deterred, our librarian calmly reminded me that, though kids are encouraged to read something every day, reading doesn't have to be limited to books. Read road signs, magazines, cereal boxes ... and that is what we did. My son, he may not love books, but he loves a Kmart catalogue and a good bike magazine.
Whether your kids are book lovers or not, Book Week is a great reminder to try something other than screens for down time (that goes for adults too). It’s a reminder to invest in books as an investment in our family’s wellbeing. And it’s a reminder to visit our libraries.
Libraries have so much to offer, even for those whose hearts have not yet been won by books. Like your library on Facebook, join their mailing list, check out their range of online activities or (if you can) pop in with your kids. They are digging so deep to provide for the community they miss right now, and their programs are designed with your family in mind, so go see what they have come up with.
For those playing at home, this year's Book Week theme is Curious Creatures and Wild Minds. You could tap into that, or you could just read.
Deborah O’Ferry is an Australian writer whose work has been featured on various websites including Kidspot, Panache Bridal, and Channel 9’s popular, The Block Shop.
Her women's fiction novel, 500 Miles, can be found at any online bookstore.
You can connect with Deborah on Facebook or Instagram