Why Children Should Learn To Love Books

Literature is a world in itself As William Lyon Phelps wrote in his essay Owning Books, “You can at any moment converse with Socrates or Shakespeare or Carlyle or Dumas or Dickens or Shaw or Barrie or Galsworthy.” Although he made it clear that no company can really compare with live human beings, he points out that serious reading offers a perspective that shows men at their finest. “There is no doubt that in these books you see men at their best. They wrote for you…You are necessary to them as an audience is to an actor.” The development of reading as a habit elevates a man. He has a priceless advantage, like having a compass in the middle of a stormy sea. A young child nurtured by Dr. Seuss and Enid Blyton inevitably discovers the Hardy Boys and Huckleberry Finn. Time moves like an eagle atop mist-capped mountains, and one day, that child will find himself unhesitatingly plunging headlong into law jurisprudence or medical encyclopedias or volumes of engineering marvels, not unlike an expedition leader trailblazing a forest armed with a sharply-honed Swiss knife. As they say, all work and no play make Jack a dull boy. Nobody knows who this fellow Jack is, but the common denominator between a successful and a meaningful life is hard work tempered by period of rest and recreation. There is scientific basis for this: the body needs time for stress-recovery, aside from sleep. There is no such thing as mental fatigue. Unless acted upon by an outside force, the brain will continue to perform at peak efficiency, even unto old age, provided that proper stimulation is induced. And that’s how reading retards aging, as proven by countless seniors who have remained productive and interesting by retaining this sense of wonder at discovering new things in life. Photo of child reading courtesy of BodyAndMore.AuburnPub.com