When I hear about people struggling to get their children to read I often try and recall how my parents did it. I spent my entire childhood with my head in a book and really can’t remember a time when I didn’t enjoy curling up either on my own or with a family member to be read to. Was it a deep need for escaping, a sense of adventure, a thirst for knowledge that led me to give so much of my life to someone else’s story. I think it was probably more the unnamed, unidentifiable magic of tales, a magic that I think you can’t be forced to find it finds you.
Based on the success of Disney films it’s quite clear that every child believes in the magic of tales. They sit and dream of being the princess, of fighting the monster, over coming the wicked stepmother, having a faithful sidekick. Children love fairy tales so if you are going to try and help them find the magic in books what better stories to start with then the tales of the Brothers Grimm. Not only are they magical and addictive but they are stories that are familiar and welcoming. Have you ever read them? No? But I bet you can name at least five…
Little Red Riding Hood
Hansel and Gretel
The shoemaker and the elves
I could go on.
This blog was inspired by recent toe dipping into Philip Pullmans’ Grimm Tales: For Young and For Old. Well the title says it all. Even in my thirties I found myself absorbed by the stories. Promising my boyfriend that I would put the book down and turn out the light after just one more story. I’d forgotten how dark some of them were, how much death features in them, and how many lessons I probably learnt from them.
They don’t all make sense a fact I love about them. It leads you to be inquisitive, even in my most recent reading of them I found myself asking why Cinderella was so easily tricked, why did the elves make the shoes, how is someone born with out knowing fear, how can a woman give birth to a half man half hedgehog and do witches and charms and curses exist today? What better way to encourage someone to read more than to leave them with questions, a thirst for more.
Reading shouldn’t be difficult, it shouldn’t be a bore but in my opinion it should definitely be GRIMM!