The second day of the conference focused on similar themes as the previous day – the changing nature of reading and the role of narrative fiction in shaping children and young adults.
Marj Kirkland, the President of the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) talked about the power of reading, particularly fiction in shaping who we are, and backed up her views with some powerful quotes. I particularly liked this one by award-winning author Junot Diaz, ‘Readers bring books alive. It is in the simple act of reading that we exercise compassion and creativity.’
Marj also discussed how children view the change from reading primarily print text to reading online as well. She stated that in her findings children see reading online as different from reading the printed page. She used the 2008 Kids and Family Wellbeing Report as an example to illustrate this. This report states that children believe technology can compliment, not replace book reading and that 62% of the children surveyed prefer to read books on printed page. Therefore, she says that we, as librarians do not need to feel as if the sky is falling in regards to the end of the book as we know it, but that we should give children the skills to be able to read electronic texts in the same way that they do with the printed word.
James Moloney was once again a highlight for me. I went to his workshop today in which he discussed in-depth his books and writing and how he came up with his ideas. Watch out on the main library blog for a post on James Moloney and his books. He’s a fascinating guy and I now want to read everything he has written.
Check the main library blog on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for reports from the Somerset Writers Festival.