This morning I woke up to an article on the local newspaper about some 13 year old boy who asked for a book over a Kindle for his birthday. "Big deal," was my initial reaction, along with "At least the love for books seems to still exist within a small proportion of the younger generations. Maybe not all hope is lost."
It always is pleasant to see a child reading a book. It is an unusual sight nowadays. I don't blame the parents though. Not entirely. Books have become so expensive nowadays, you would think they are a luxury. For example - a simple board book [i.e. a book consisting of less than 10 pages, made out of thick cardboard, with minimal words and colourful picture, aimed at babies/toddlers.] can cost anywhere between €8 and €15. [go to www.xe.com for a currency conversion if you live outside the Euro zone]. That, my friends, is silly expensive. How are you meant to teach your child how to read and what the joys of reading and book ownership are all about? Bookstore owners [as well as toy store owners who mark educational toys at silly prices] need a healthy dose of reality. With the income most households have, and the expenses they have every month, most cannot afford to buy more than one book every... 2? 3 months?
With such expensive pricing being placed on what should be a child's gateway to other worlds... their faithful companion, friend and teacher.... it is no wonder that so many parents don't even bother and would rather plop their child in front of the idiot box, also referred to as TV.
I myself am a bibliophile, and have every intention of passing on this quality to Creature once s/he is born. What I don't intend to do, however, is to fill his/her head with all the Happily Ever After nonsense. I know, shocking isn't it? What I mean by that is - I find Fairy Tales so much more enticing in their original format rather than the lovey-dovey unrealistic Disney influenced modified versions. If you're still confused, I would suggest looking up The Little Mermaid. The proper version. The one with no Happily Ever After. You know, the one with suicide and murder involved in the picture.
I can only hope that parents do some shopping around, and perhaps try to find the cheapest possible option to stock up their children's libraries. Charity Shops, Car Boot Sales, Bazaars, The Internet - all feasible options. Don't deny your child the joys of reading. Try to include it in your budget. And never be afraid of giving a book as a gift. Check with the parent/a family member whether the book you had in mind might already be sitting on the child's bookshelf though. Getting duplicates can be frustrating for a child. And getting book vouchers can be frustrating for the parent[s] due to the majority of book shops on this island having a very limited stock of interesting titles.