There’s two pieces I want to draw your attention to, as I think they’re worth a read. Firstly this piece talking about bedtime stories for very young children. It makes some interesting points about the word-image cognitive process taking place and links to some other useful pieces.
Secondly, there’s a report out from Scholastic on what kids want in books. As ever, remember that every survey has its positives and minuses, but bearing all that in mind, do take a look. I sort of suspect there’s some useful data in this one that a librarian can seize on and repurpose in a productive sort of manner. (And do, seriously, do this. Numbers and data are there for you to wield and use. Don’t let research die in some precious removed place from reality)
Both pieces are now making me think a lot about the importance of facilitation. We hear a lot in children’s / young adult literature about the ‘gatekeepers’. It’s an interesting term that to me because, in a way, I think we sometimes hear more about the negative connotations of the role rather than the positives. So here’s the point where I acknowledge the positives.
There are a thousand, thousand people out there who specifically want books in the hands of teenagers and children. I’ve met a lot of them. They want passionate, complicated and provocative books read by people who deserve the very best in literature. Children’s and young adult literature isn’t silo-bound any more. It is out there and it is is bold and it is brilliant and these people recognise that. They fight every day to allow and to faciliate those books to be read by the right and the wrong people. They exist really, I think, for freedom and for empowerment. Being a librarian, a teacher, a parent, a critic – it’s not just about the position of authority that you hold. It’s not about you. It’s about the books. It’s always about the books and facilitating the access to those books and empowering the reading of those books.
So here’s to the gatekeepers that get that, and fight for that to happen each and every day.
You’re great, you are.