April 9 - 15 is National Library Week, as such, we think Neil Gaiman's 2013 lecture, encapsulated in an article for The Guardian, is a great way to kick off the festivities!
In his article, Neil touches on the fact that fiction leads to daydreaming which is how we fuel our imaginations. "Fiction can show you a different world. It can take you somewhere you’ve never been. Once you’ve visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in. Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different."
He exalts the existence of libraries as our primary defense against book deserts. "Another way to destroy a child’s love of reading, of course, is to make sure there are no books of any kind around. And to give them nowhere to read those books. I was lucky. I had an excellent local library growing up. I had the kind of parents who could be persuaded to drop me off in the library on their way to work in summer holidays, and the kind of librarians who did not mind a small, unaccompanied boy heading back into the children’s library every morning and working his way through the card catalogue, looking for books with ghosts or magic or rockets in them, looking for vampires or detectives or witches or wonders. And when I had finished reading the children’s’ library I began on the adult books."
Neil also shared his thoughts on raising literate children. "The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them."
Neil Gaiman has written books for the young, old and young at heart. We love his entire library of works and share all of his sentiments on the importance of reading, libraries and the power of imagination.
Do you have a favorite Neil Gaiman book? We'd love to hear about it!