Danny the Dragon Author on Good Children's Literature
Books have never had as much competition as they do today. As the author of the popular children's series, Danny the Dragon (http://DannyTheDragon.com), you know I'm an advocate for quality kids books. I remember when all I had to worry about was having the kids turn off the TV. Now, in addition to television, there's the Internet, a wide assortment of videogames, DVD players, MP3 players and cell phones. While these are certainly entertaining and potentially educational, do they go that extra mile and stimulate your child's imagination and teach him complex lessons about life? Chances are, probably not. What would you say if a relative offered to take the kids for the evening so you could curl down by the fire with a boring, dreary book to read, without any interesting illustrations? Chances are you'd say "yes" to the offer but "no" to the book, especially with so many entertaining shows on television. Given the chance to read a great thriller, one of your favorite classics or the newest Dan Brown book, however, you'd probably jump at the chance. After all, most adequately literate people enjoy reading a good book, and they'll pass up the television, too, in order to read one. It shouldn't be hard to figure out that the same goes for your kids, too.
As an avid supporter of children's literacy, a children's author since the age of sixteen and a parent of three grown children, I believe that good literature is important to our culture. The fact that kids need good literature is not a new one. Just look at the number of awards available in the United States alone to reward authors for superb children's literature. The long list of such awards includes the Newbery Medal, Caldecott Medal, Coretta Scott King Award, Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, The Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, and the Golden Kite Award. With such an extraordinary effort made to celebrate good children's literature, there must be something important about it. I know how short the attention span of a child can be yet how thrilling it is to watch a child's imagination partake in an exciting adventure story. However, why should a child read good literature rather than watch an "educational" television show or an entertaining children's movie? The answer lies in the benefits of reading to your child. Research continues to support that reading benefits children of all ages in a number of ways. First, reading helps to build your child's vocabulary, develop his imagination, and improve his ability to communicate. In fact, there is a direct relationship between how many words an infant hears in a day and his language skills, and even his intelligence quotient. Reading is crucial in exposing your baby or young child to a variety of words.
The images and colors in children picture books and illustrated books are also stimulating of the imagination. This is part of the reason why I spent a whole year interviewing illustrators after writing the first book in my series, Danny the Dragon -- I knew from reading to my own children just how much children appreciate art in children's literature. Not only is reading a great way to build language skills and imagination, but it's an important way to teach values that will be relevant to your children for the rest of their lives. Just as you once devoured the themes of classics such as "1984" or "To Kill a Mockingbird", your child's hungry mind readily absorbs the themes and lessons in kids books. When I read to kids from my children's book series, I never cease to be surprised by how quickly they catch on to the sophisticated lessons about how a family handles surprises and acceptance. Its themes of helping each other, accepting the differences of others, and treating others how one would want to be treated are embraced by children of all ages. So the next time you're shopping for the kids at Wal-Mart, think twice before you get them another DVD. Remember the pleasure you get from curling up with a good book and pick out some high-quality children's literature instead. For more information on Danny the Dragon, visit http://DannyTheDragon.com. For more information on Tina Turbin, visit http://TinaTurbin.com.
Tina Turbin (http://TinaTurbin.com) is a published children's author, writer, researcher, humanitarian and Mom. She wrote her first children's story at age 16. She has always enjoyed many years of working with and helping children and their families. The Danny the Dragon series (http://DannyTheDragon.com) fulfills a passion of hers to delight children and their families through her enchanting characters in her writing. Tina's style as an author conveys to the young and young at heart and imparts acts of kindness.