The ability to read is essential to a life lived with independence, confidence and safety. We need to know what POISON means. We need to know which medicine is which. We need to read in order to receive texts and to reply. We need to read in order to follow a recipe.
But then there’s the other aspect of reading, the magic part, the part that can take you far away or bring you deep inside yourself. The life enhancement part.
Don’t just take my word for it. Writers have words to say about books, too. Of course, they might be said to have a vested interest in the subject, since they write what they hope we will read. But since writing and reading are two sides of the same coin, their perspective is valid.
Books are a uniquely portable magic. —Stephen King
A book is a gift you can open again and again. —Garrison Keillor
A parent or a teacher has only his lifetime; a good book can teach forever. —Louis L’Amour
“To learn to read is to light a fire” — Victor Hugo, Les Miserables
Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his needs, is good for him. —Maya Angelou
There is no substitute for books in the life of a child. —May Ellen Chase
“There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.” – Marcel Proust
Of particular interest are quotations from those author who write books for children and youth.
We read to know we are not alone. —C.S. Lewis
I will defend the importance of bedtime stories to my last gasp. —JK Rowling
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”— Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!”
“So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, Go throw your TV set away, And in its place you can install, A lovely bookshelf on the wall.” — Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax all you need is a book!” – Dr. Seuss
“If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to read a lot of books.” – Roald Dahl
“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” – Neil Gaiman
“A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.”
– Neil Gaiman
“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” – Emilie Buchwald
The scientist Albert Einstein said:
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
And another scientist Carl Sagan said:
One of the greatest gifts adults can give—to their offspring and to their society—is to read to children.
Former American First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy is quoted:
“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”
And Walt Disney once said:
“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.”
Even comedians have touched on the topic. Groucho Marx said:
“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”
“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”
And finally there’s this quote from comedian Stephen Wright.
“A lot of people ask me if I were shipwrecked and could only have one book, what would it be? I always say, “How to Build a Boat.”
Which brings us back to the practical side of things and perhaps to a definition of reading that encompasses both its aspects.