I’m going through a phase. Books that I read in high school and middle school are more appealing to me now at a more mature age than they were when I first read them. This phase began when I read Fablehaven by Brandon Mull. It is an excellent story of growth and belief. I highly recommend this book to all who read, especially if you love fantasy. This is the first part to a series that consists of five books. After reading Fablehaven, I decided to read Inkheart by Cornelia Funke again.
One of the things that I am realizing as I’m reading these books is that because I am a part of an older and more mature generation than when I first read them is that these books were teaching me. I grew up in a world of black and white, right and wrong, but unfortunately life is not as easy to categorize as that. In Inkheart, one of the characters makes a bad decision (no, I’m not going to spoil it, but you can pick up a copy at your local bookstore, or you can purchase a copy on Amazon.) that upon first reading caused me to despise him. I though that he was the most selfish character in the book. Now, second time through, knowing his motivation, and seeing the other characters in a more complete light showed me that all of the characters were quite selfish, but that as human beings, we’re all selfish.
Children’s books and stories are full of questions about morality, right and wrong, and seeing not just the surface of an individual. When a character in a book makes a decision that we, as readers, think is horrible, we automatically categorize them as part of the bad guys. Later, when we see their true intentions and motivations, we are forced to see a sort of desperation behind the actions, in a way validating the character.
So what does all of this matter? Most of you readers don’t have children yet, and some of you don’t want children at all, but for those of you who do see children in the future, however far away or close that future may be, remember the importance of a child learning to read and being read to. In a world of greys, children need to be able to see the larger picture, and I’m pretty sure there are quite a few adults that need to be able to look at life through a more perceptive lens as well. Books teach us this, and the sooner we learn it, the more compassionate and caring we will be as individuals.