Over the summer I was in a bookstore when I spotted a new children’s book, It’s a Book by Lane Smith. I didn’t have to open it or read one page to know where the story was going. Yes, it’s a book (a fantastic, smart, cheeky book that adults will love too, by the way) about what a book is and the enjoyment that can be had from reading. With all the rapid-fire technology that we consume incessantly, the idea of sitting down and reading a whole book seems very daunting–who has that kind of time anymore? Now take children who are raised on Baby Einstein (or Baby Crack, as my child-rearing contemporaries call it)–they’ve barely even seen a bound book–and imagine their surprise at all the things it can’t do.
The problem is that all the things that books and reading can do are not readily visible and don’t necessarily provide us with the instant gratification of updating your status, downloading Angry Birds, or retweeting that funny YouTube video. I’ll admit, mind you, that I am guilty of all those things, but my love of books has not been diminished by them, thanks to our lifelong bond. But will any child today have the opportunity to even develop a relationship with books such as mine or yours? I think the latest statistic I heard said that in five years 80% of books published will be e-books. Now, true, “books” will still be available, just in another, electronic format. But will it really hold your attention as much if while reading a novel on your iPad you’re suddenly interrupted by TeamCoco’s latest tweet about jeggings? We’ve succumbed to a mammoth level of distraction and I fear that uninterrupted hours spent reading have already become a thing of the past.
So . . . it’s come to this. Now, what do we do about the children? How do we get them to learn to enjoy reading, books, simpler pleasures–in addition to the incredible technology that’s available at their fingertips–that will stimulate their mind in different ways and just maybe discourage the ADD-esque habits so pervasive in today’s society? Oh, I know! We buy them books…. And may I suggest starting their library with It’s a Book? Trust me, you’ll love it as much as they do–maybe even more.