IT takes a special kind of person to command your attention from the moment they speak.
Children’s author Morris Gleitzman is one such character as he
shared his thoughts on the power of stories.
“By the time kids are in upper primary they are so connected to the world through information technology that we really have to start helping them feel positive about their place in the world,” Gleitzman said.
“Stories do this really well because stories for young people are usually about young main characters facing big problems in their lives and having to develop all sorts of qualities that they may not have needed to develop before to help them wrestle with these big problems.
“Through that process they learn a lot about themselves in the world and end up doing things they didn’t think they would ever be capable of doing.”
Well-read children learn resilience, according to the Brisbane writer and 2018 Australian Children’s Laureate.
“In longer stories, characters fail in their problem-solving strategies at first and then learn to pick themselves up and give it another go and that is one of the most valuable life skills any of us can learn,” he said.
“In one of my books there would probably be four or five failures by the main character before they even get close to solving their problem.”
Gleitzman champions the value of parents reading to children.
“The great thing about reading out loud is not only showing kids you’re interested in them and their reading, but it makes you available for the conversation,” he said.
“Even little kids want to talk about things they are discovering in their picture books and I think those conversations are as important as the books themselves.
“A book isn’t totally complete if the conversation is missing.”