And this is why.
Children’s Literature has, I feel , helped to make me who I am. I read a lot as a child. Hungrily, desperately. I worked my way through the libraries at both school and at home. And when I “grew up” (though I still don’t quite feel that I have), books came with me. I worked my way through my local library, my local bookshops, my local charity stores and then I went further afield. Always. Wanting. Always. Reading.
Books are a sort of superpower. And we give that to people for free. I still can’t quite fathom the wonder of a public library, a place holding knowledge and comfort and fun – that gives that away for free. How amazing is that? You’re standing there, right there, lost in the mess and haze of life and if you wanted, you could have the words of a thousand warriors at your beck and call. Wilfred Owen. Sylvia Plath. Marian Keyes. Patrick Ness. Life is confusing, brutal, brittle, and these people will help you to understand it – to define it – to make it your own.
Books do that. They mirror our struggles and they give us escape. They give us hope and they give us sadness. They give us potential.
Every book deserves a reader. Every reader – everybody – deserves a book. Emerging literate? Illiterate? Pre-literate? Conquer this, this bastion of intimidation and mystery and lines that mean nothing yet but will, it will, and you are powerful. You are a superhero.
You always were.
And that’s why I’m doing World Book Night. That’s why I’m doing it with Noughts and Crosses, a book about being brave, about being a hero, about standing up for your beliefs, about being a fighter.
Because everyone deserves to be a superhero.