September 30 — October 6
Publishers Weekly has a good overview of Banned Books Week in honor of its 30th anniversary.
This article comes from a newspaper in the United Kingdom, but the content seems pertinent for the U. S. as well. Susan Elkin, author of Unlocking the Reader in Every Child (Ransom, 2010) and Encouraging Reading (Continuum, 2007), offers some sobering statistics:
As tens of thousands of children returned to school earlier this month, the National Literacy Trust’s report Children’s and Young People’s Reading Today informed us that only 30 per cent of children and teenagers read books daily in their own time. In 2005, the figure was 40 per cent.
Children learn the rudimentary decoding skills of reading at school, but to become competent readers they need practice:
The best place for a child to do that essential daily practice – which should quickly become a pleasure rather than a chore – is at home. That means taking children to libraries and/or buying them books. It means turning off (most) screens and certainly getting television sets, laptops, phones, games consoles and the like out of children’s bedrooms – or, better still, don’t put them in there in the first place.
The most effective way parents can help their children learn to love reading is by modeling it:
The most useful thing parents can do to encourage children and teenagers to read is to be seen reading a lot themselves. Parents who say they are “too busy to read” simply convey the message that reading is beneath the attention of important grown-ups. “Do as I say but not as I do” cuts no ice with children. They will quickly stop reading because not reading will be seen as “cool” and “adult”.
Antoine Wilson, author of Panorama City, discusses his ten favorite fictional narrators for Publishers Weekly’s Tip Sheet. There are really 20 discussions here, as Wilson includes an alternate for each of his choices.
Wilson’s annotations of his choices provide a good example of how to evaluate the narrator of a work of fiction. Since one of the first things authors must decide is whose story they are telling, getting to know the narrator is often the key to understanding the work.
On a personal note, my thanks to PW for putting all 10 books on one page instead of making us click through single pages for each title.
Fantasy author Silvia Hartmann is offering readers the chance to watch her novel taking shape, word by word, on a Google document. If you’re an aspiring writer yourself, or if you just want to take a look at one author’s writing process, here’s your chance.
Follow the link in this article from The Guardian to Hartmann’s Google doc.