I should warn you this post is wordy and there aren't many pictures. But I like to think it's worth the read :)
|This exciting picture by me.|
Know what else? Literature teaches you to appreciate more than one viewpoint. You rarely see good fiction in which the villain doesn't have some kind of back-story, some kind of reason for acting the way they do. Remember reading Noughts and Crosses when you were little? Remember how Jude was evil...but we cared about him? That kind of grey area between good and evil helps us appreciate in real life that not everything is black and white. I know it's taught me to look at situations from different angles.
Actually, that semi-brings me on to another issue - literature educates. Read a Jane Austen novel? Begin to understand society in the early 1800s. I can tell you now, I knew nothing about Belgian rule in the Congo until I read Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. And you know what else? It educates us in such a way that it doesn't really feel like education at all: because we're learning everything from the flipside, the little people at the bottom, all the historical detail kind of filters in and suddenly we're knowledgeable. And that insight into other people's lives is so important: history isn't copy and pasted directly into an index we can use in the future, it fades unevenly and sometimes it gets lost. When a book captures one scenario, it shows us a bunch of thing about the time it was written that are absolutely invaluable.
|Image courtesy of the BBC|
That pretty much sums up why I believe reading, especially in children, is incredibly, crucially important.
(Warning: politics upcoming.)
Which is why the issues facing Britain's libraries at the moment are so tragic. Are the cuts necessary? I'm not an economist, and I can't tell. I wish they weren't though.
Truly. Libraries are my childhood. And I've spent a fair proportion of my teenagerdom there as well.