We are excited today to have another wonderful guest blogger, Fiona Ingram. She has been a journalist for the last fifteen years and has writing a children’s book, The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, an unexpected step, inspired by a recent trip to Egypt. Ingram has finished the second book in the Chronicles of the Stone series, The Search for the Stone of Excalibur—a huge treat for young King Arthur fans—which is due to release soon.
Ingram has been kind enough to share some tips on exploring worlds and how parents, teachers and children can go beyond the pages of their favorite book.
A recent blog survey by Susan Orleans (in the New Yorker) on books that have changed children’s worlds reveals that many times the books are possibly the parents’ choices. This could be because until the child can go out and choose and pay for their own books, the parent is usually the book buyer, and therefore, is by default the book chooser. Parents may purchase enchanting classics because they want their children to enjoy the books they grew up with. It could also be that parents consider some books to be inappropriate. Perhaps the subject matter is too shocking in some cases. For example, when I first read Lord of the Flies (now a classic) at a very tender age, I was shattered. Violence and death seemed impossible. Nowadays, the number of instances of child on child violence is rising. Or is it? Possibly, with wider media coverage and the age of the Internet, more cases are being reported because the dissemination of information has become so much easier.
When I taught my adopted daughter, Mabel to read I naturally turned to my old favorites, children’s classics, because many of those books changed my world. Mabel loved lots of them but began to spread her literary wings as she grew up. Your child may not enjoy the beloved books of yesteryear that were your friends and companions. Times change, technology marches ever onward, and children’s tastes develop. Any parent wishing to foster and develop a love of reading in their child should be aware of the new and often difficult pressures on children today. Issues that did not exist thirty years ago may be of compelling importance now. Subjects that were never spoken of such as child abuse, incest, violence, drug use, death, a dystopian world, global warming, war, racism, nuclear threats, etc. unfortunately rear their ugly heads in today’s society. Children are also bombarded from an early age with media messages that create confusion. Are kids growing up too soon, parents wonder? Should they be reading this or that?
Some practical tips for parents wishing to enhance their child’s reading pleasure:
- Subscribe to children’s book review sites or publisher newsletters to keep abreast of kids’ books. Often reviews are helpful in deciding whether to purchase a book or not.
- Look at what your child is reading at school and discuss whether they are enjoying it, and if not, why not.
- Visit a good bookstore with your child and look at the books most prominently displayed. Get the store assistant’s opinion on what is popular, and what they would recommend. Find out if, any authors will be doing book readings or if there are any book launches coming up.
- Local librarians are a fount of often-unappreciated knowledge. Ask about book readings or library sessions where there is a fun activity planned.
- Buy books that target your child’s interests and hobbies.
- Encourage your child to make their own choices.
- Depending on the age of your child, help your child expand their experience by getting the movie about the book, or purchasing a ‘companion guide’ (usually illustrated) to a compelling book series. If the book is set in a particular historical period or geographical location, go online and look for images or extra information to enhance your child’s understanding.
Don’t be afraid that any one book will change your child’s viewpoint in a negative way. Life is full of all sorts of experiences that they must eventually confront. Books are a way for kids to dip into another world or explore topics safely.
Fiona Ingram’s earliest story-telling talents came to the fore when, from the age of ten, she entertained her three younger brothers and their friends with serialized tales of children undertaking dangerous and exciting exploits, which they survived through courage and ingenuity. Haunted houses, vampires and skeletons leaping out of coffins were hot favorites in the cast of characters.
Naturally, Ingram is a voracious reader and has been from early childhood. Her interests include literature, art, theatre, collecting antiques, animals, music and films. She loves travel and has been fortunate to have lived in Europe (while studying) and America (for work). She has travelled widely and fulfilled many of her travel goals.
Remembering kids today are computer savvy, ALL of Fiona Ingram’s books are available both in hard copy and eBook.
You can find out more about Fiona Ingram’s World of Ink Author/Book Tour schedule at http://storiesforchildrenpublishing.com/FionaIngram.aspx. There will be giveaways, reviews, interviews, guest posts and more. Make sure to stop by and interact with Ingram and the hosts at the different stops by leaving comments and/or questions. Ingram will be checking in throughout the tour and is offering an additional giveaway for those who leave comments throughout the tour.
In addition, come listen to Blog Talk Radio’s World of Ink Network show: Stories for Children. The hosts VS Grenier, Kris Quinn Chirstopherson and Irene Roth will be chatting with Fiona Ingram about her children’s book series, writing, the publishing industry, and the trials and tribulations of the writer’s life.
The show will be live September 26, 2011 at 2pm EST. You can tune in at the World of Ink Network site at http://www.blogtalkradion.com/worldofinknetwork.