Friday, October 29, 2010

Embrace E-Books

JANICE:  The new world of reading is going to be okay. After all, we humans made the transition from scrolls and palm leaves. Yet there is a difference this time. With scrolls and palm leaves we gave them up for another tactile object — a bound book. I am not willing to give up books that I can feel, but I embrace another way to read as well. There is a time and place for both.

Two experiences lately warmed my heart to the new medium. Last month at a concert of baroque music I sat next to a woman reading Patti LuPone's memoir on a Kindle while we waited for the concert to begin. She was savoring the past and the future in a lovely way, and it gave me heart. We don't have to abandon the past to embrace the future.

A few days ago I was sitting in a dentist's chair fearing the possible pain. While the novocain took effect, my lovable (yes) dentist distracted me with his new iPad. He showed me one of the free books that came with it, Winnie the Pooh — in the original version illustrated by Ernest Shepard! The book that set me on the path of writing for children. I fell in love with e-readers and felt no pain.

— Illustration by Ernest Shepard from Winnie the Pooh

And now Anna Maria's Gift, my latest, is available as a bound book or an e-book. Read whichever one you please. Just read!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Picture Books vs. Chapter Books

Dear Parents,

Let's not give up picture books in favor of word books. Children need glorious images that go with printed words. Those images will make the words unforgettable. Ideally, we want to raise children who are both verbally and visually educated, and picture books do both. Here are some examples of why picture books are a vital way to learn about the world.

Do you want your child to be interested in Shakespeare? Then you need this book. Even parents will learn something.

How about Marco Polo and his journey? This book has lots of words with illustrations both new and ancient that you and your child will never forget.

And finally, I cannot resist our own picture book biography of Antonio Vivaldi. This book along with a CD of Vivaldi's music make the composer come to life.

Happy reading and looking,