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!