Reading books can be a very powerful experience. I would like to share a true story with you that occurred quite some time ago now.
My daughter, Bridget, was a student in upper primary school at the time, and her school was celebrating World Read Aloud Day. On this particular day, parents had been invited to read and share their favourite books with the children and Bridget was keen for me to participate. She had asked if I could come in and read a few chapters of “Cara the Class Clown” (a humorous children’s novel that I had written about bullying and its consequences) to her class. But the book had not been published as yet, and was still only in the form of a manuscript. Nevertheless, I decided to participate in this special school event and I read four chapters of the story to her class.
After school, Bridget shared a special story with me which actually brought a tear to my eye. She told me about a little boy in her class whose sister was disabled and who had recently passed away on her 16th Birthday. Since then, he always looked sad at school, and Bridget had never once seen him smile. But after listening to my reading of the story, Bridget saw him smile for the first time since the passing of his sister, and he even laughed out loud once in response to one of the jokes in the book.
Even today, I still become very emotional when I talk about this story and it will be etched in my memory forever. I cannot express in words how it makes me feel, as an author, to know that one of my books was actually responsible for putting a smile on a child’s face, a child who was overcome with sadness due to his difficult and tragic circumstances.
This true story really does bring home, and strongly emphasises, the fact that books can indeed have a most powerful impact on the reader. Reading books engages the reader, so much so, that it draws their attention away from the current world in which we live and transports the reader to another place, encouraging readers to experience and explore the problems, joys and sorrows of the characters in the stories that they are reading about. Reading story books can help children forget about their own current problems that they may be experiencing in their own lives. By identifying with the characters in books, children are being given an insight into how these characters learn to deal with problems and the strategies used to help overcome the difficult situations in which the characters themselves are often faced with.
The power of reading books should never be underestimated and can benefit the reader in more ways than we can possibly ever hope to express.