It’s International Children’s Book Day on 2nd April 2016 and we at The Curved House are reflecting on how we developed our love of books…
I would love to boast that I was a prodigious childhood reader, ticking-off The Wind in the Willows aged 4. I was not that. I loved a good picture book, Katie Morag and the Tiresome Ted being one of the best. But when it came to attempting chapter books, I had no interest.
I now wonder whether it simply came down to taste. I won’t blow my own trumpet and claim I just wasn’t being challenged – it felt very challenging! – but I felt very keenly the effect of being educated using strict reading levels. The alternatives, provided by my very well meaning Mum, were painfully fun, zany, and garish which was even worse. I could count on my fingers the number of books I finished between the ages of 6 and 12, outside of school.
Written word purists might disapprove but audiobooks were what pulled me back in. The discovery of Stephen Fry’s rendition of Harry Potter and the fully dramatised (but unabridged!) production of Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights were completely magical. And suddenly I saw the point in reading again.
One of the most important things I’m discovering at The Curved House is the universal importance of visual literacy. It’s becoming clearer that children learn and develop in completely different ways. This has encouraged me to reconsider my critical and self conscious attitude about the way I got into reading, that there is something wrong, or easy, about audiobooks.
Audiobooks are an amazing format in themselves and they are also a potent gateway drug into the world of reading! For the uninitiated: I recommend anything Philip Pullman has ever recorded!
Rosie Cunningham is a graduate of MLitt Publishing Studies at the University of Stirling. During a condensed and highly productive four week work placement at The Curved House in Berlin, Rosie authored and project managed a Curved House Quick Guide, conducted extensive marketing and picture research, and assisted with editing and proofreading. She’s now returned to Edinburgh to work for Picture Hooks Illustration Agency to pursue her career in other areas of publishing. We wish her all the best!