The Reading is Magic Festival took place this year from the 27th September – 2nd October, offering an array of engaging digital events for children to enjoy and participate in.
Inspiration for the title of the festival came from the Waterstones Children’s Laureate, Cressida Cowell, who said “reading is magic, and magic is for everyone”.
I listened to the festival’s Q&A with Cressida Cowell and Jason Reynolds, The National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature in the USA. At Give a Book, reading for pleasure is at the heart of everything we do.
Cressida Cowell and Jason Reynolds both spoke about encouraging children to fall in love with reading in their own unique ways. Although both had different outlooks, the common thread of reading for the joy of it was visible in both. Cowell spoke about the differences in reading and seeing something on a screen, things on a screen happen elsewhere with the viewer essentially viewing the workings of the director’s imagination but reading is all up in their own mind. It gives you empathy, intelligence and creativity as it requires you to be imaginative. Jason Reynolds suggested that getting children to read and to enjoy reading is not achieved through dictating and force, but by understanding each child’s story and finding a book that will relate to their experiences. Finding comparisons between a book and ourselves or a character is magical.
Connecting with a story is how we fall in love with reading.
The two authors and ambassadors for reading rounded off the discussion with a few questions from schools who were watching live and a final message to children everywhere about the magic of reading. Love the story first and foremost, and don’t worry about not enjoying every book you read. We all like different things, the world would be rather dull if we didn’t and it’s the same with reading. Find what you like and reading becomes a pleasure not a chore.
You can still access all the events for free up until December 31st, just click here.