books, children, forgotten, future, knowledge, leisure.

The future of books

The future of books 12 11 2014

Like many older people, I have thousands of books.  Many of them I will never read again, and look for other people who would like them. Others I do read again and again.  P G Wodehouse I re-read while listening to the news – his books are no madder and much less upsetting.

I have two rooms for a ‘LITERACY MUSEUM’, full of children’s fun and teaching books, books on reading for teachers, the best collection on spelling in Australia, innovative materials for teaching reading and spelling,and  the history of education in Australia and overseas – and I  look for people who would like these books.  Otherwise they go when I go, which is a great pity.

Education Departments do not want these books – they are busy downsizing their book collections in their libraries. Some school libraries don’t have books any more.

Many of the books are already museum pieces, but all of them soon will be.


THE MUSEUM KEEPS CHILDREN’S FAVOURITES –  story and picture books that pre-school children have loved and older children have used to learn to read.  Adults can use these books as picture-story books even with some babies of six months upward, pointing to the pictures and talking about them, rather than reading the text.  As children grow older, they like to hear the text, and the reader can run a biro-end under the words, so children can see how the print relates to the spoken word.  Children can ask about any words they do not know, or you can add an explanation of hard words as you read.  “He had a donkey – like a small horse with big ears – and rode it along the highway, along the road.”

Some of these books are now worn with use, but it is good for children to find out that tatty-looking books can be the best ones, because it can be a sign of love and long use. “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”

These children’s books include Stories, Myths and Legends, the Alphabet A-Z, Walt Disney,       Anybody at Home? (lift the tab and see what creature lives there), Bears in the Night ( a marvellous book for concept learning as well as learning to read); Cat in the hat picture dictionary (Children love this, including children learning  English, the New Golden Encyclopedia, Di Manaka aku? (An Indonesian sort of ‘Where’s Wally’,  but this book helps children learn more about the world and the people in it, and Australian children like it too, when you talk about it rather than read it,) Doctor Doolittle,  Flower Fairies series, The Ear Book (A marvellous book for children learning English spoken  language as well as literacy ‘I hear a ding, I hear a dong –‘), the Magic Beach (and other books by Alison Lester, an Australian author,)The Merrygoround – an Oxford  collection of rhymes and poems for children – (to read and sing to children, but learners also like reading it.  One seven-year-old severely disadvantaged girl learnt to read from this book when all else had failed,) My Book about Me, All the Doctor Seuss books – One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish,The Foot Book,       I can do anything – almost,       Plant and Animal Alphabet coloring book, Ten Apples up on Top! (a great counting book as well as reading book) The Golden Geography – a child’s introduction to the wider world, Old Hat, New hat (marvellous in learning to read) , People by Peter Spier. (This is a really marvellous multicultural book. If it is in print, get copies,)Inside, outside, upside down. (Children love this, including children learning English language as well as literacy),       Tale of Peter Rabbit (and all the Beatrix Potter stories,The Australia Book,What do people do all day? – Richard Scarry,        What makes it go? Also a sheet of lullabies for adults and children to sing to babies .

Add to this list. If they are out of print, they should be back in.

Rather than say ‘It doesn’t matter what children read as long as they are reading’ , the better principle is ‘You might as well read books worth reading’

Find books you like and look for other books by the same authors

This list will change from time to time.

If a book is tatty it often means other people have loved it.

Don’t judge a book by its cover

All the pictures should be ones children like to look at more than once, with CLEAR PRINT.

Everybody likes different books, so find the ones that YOU like.  In a library or have a Bookshop Crawl.   There is a lot of junk out there, so you can dig like a miner in a gold-mine for the gold..

1 Junior Beginners, babies and upward

My First Word Book. D Kindersley. Even good for adults learning to read.

The EAR book, by Al Perkins, Cat-in-the-hat beginner book. Random House 1968.ISBN 0 00 171203 9. Great for letters and sounds.

Gobble Growl Grunt, by Peter Spier. World Books. Marvellous sounds of animals and birds to read aloud.

Bears in the Night . Stan and Jan Berenstein, Collins. 1972. A great rhythm book.

The Ugly Duckling, Cinderella, and other favorite fairy stories

Dr Seuss books, including My book about Me, by Me, Myself

Possum Magic – Mem Fox


National Geographics  Talk about the pictures

Milly-Molly-Mandy  stories. Happy little adventures in daily life. Joyce Lankester Brisley

Books with flaps that open out, such as Who Lives There?

Beatrix Potter books

Nursery rhymes and fairy stories

 Picture books of nature and science and technology and history that are really fascinating.

And there is more!

aged, children, parent, population, refugees

Past solutions to the problems of the aged

Past solutions to the problems of the aged


In the past, how did tribes solve the problem of their aged?

The nomads left them at the rivers that they could not cross.

In settlements, what did they do?  As in many undeveloped countries today – what is that?.

They did not have the resources of modern medicine to keep them alive longer than they remained healthy enough to stay alive – though as Ecclesiastes and Shakespeare’s Ages of Man show, the elderly did not enjoy life, and suffered the slippered woes as the sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank;
and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound.
Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everyt

A few years ago the Japanese produced a film called something like The snows of Narayama Mountain about life trying to survive in a medieval village. The village kept itself off starvation by a rule (among other strategies) that people over seventy went up the mountain to die. Seventy was the latest age to remain healthy at that time. Everyone, including the elderly, accepted this.  The film showed an elderly woman planting out seedlings before she was willingly carried up the mountain by her loving son. Her only hope was that it would snow, so she would die quickly. She had had a long life, with everything she had lived for, and needed to live no longer.

children, economick, future, parent, refugees, Uncategorized

Size of families

The West sees a big problem in small families in the West, but the  world problem is in a population  explosion which is greater than can be sustained.

But there are religious and political groups which try for larger families for their adherents. Governments which offer bonuses and government support for children, no matter how many in a family, help the very people who have more children than they can care for, to have more.

By and large, children who come into care come from families which have more children than they can care for, but they have government support to have a large family.

The Australian government has a policy against asylum seekers, but it would be wiser and more compassionate to let asylum seekers to come with the proviso that they do not have large families, now or in the future /

The Australian Rights and Responsibilities for its citizens and its immigrants should include a clause that all have a right to two children per family with government support, but those who have more children than that must be able to support them by themselves.

The refugees from Africa to Europe seeking jobs, and the people daring the deserts of Arizona to reach the United States are part of the problem, with so many from large African and Middle-Eastern families.

Now that modern medicine and hygiene prevents high child mortality, large families in poor countries mainly survive, They can help parents by working as children but then as adults they seek to become parents too.

What can be done about political and religious pressures to have large families?

Why are there large families with unwanted children or teenagers who cannot get jobs even in Western countries?

China’s attempted solution was one-child families, but two-child families seem better than that.