The Power of Story with Jackie French

 “If you want intelligent adults, give our children stories, because each story increases the neurons in a child’s brain. If you want creative adults who can mine the asteroids or find three million ways to cope with drought, pollution or global warming, give them stories now.”  Jackie French AO.

Jackie French's take on the power of story. What follows is my truncated take on her impassioned speech last night at Riverbend Books in Brisbane on why books matter and must always matter.

  • Books give kids the ability to choose what they want to be and who they could be, not necessarily describing to them who they are already.
  • One kind act can change a life. Kindness is as contagious as evil and anger.

  • BOOKS MATTER – books improve, enhance, stimulate and, strengthen our intelligence. It’s a scientific fact.
  • CREATORS MATTER - as creators, what we do matters.
  • LIBRARIES, TEACHER LIBRARIANS AND BOOKSHOPS MATTER. - Kids need guidance when it comes to book choice and reading
Because 80% of kids (and adults) find books boring... need to learn to ‘taste books’
Reading is good for us but it this is not the predominant reason why we do it. We do it because we love to.

Need to teach kids that they are the Boss of Books in terms of: choice, type, and when and how they read them. They don’t have to finish a book if they don’t want to; it’s not a piece of broccoli!

  • Don’t give up and stop (reading) because of preconceptions about age. Kids will get bored with books they are able to read at a certain age but they will love longer books with more intricate themes and relevance to them even if they cannot quite read them.
This is why we must keep reading to them!

Adults = kid enablers – we must guide and teach and show.

We are the people of the books but this does not provide any economic argument sufficient to convince the pollies / bean counters of the impact of the need and value of books and reading. Therefore, this is perceived as sentiment rather than proof. But it is not. We are not sentimental.

We are not stupid because we read!
Stories show where we come from, who we are, and what we can be and where we are going.

To ignore them is detrimental.



Norah said…
What wisdom! I'm sure it would have been a fabulous talk. I'm disappointed I couldn't be there.
DimbutNice said…
Hi Norah, yes it was. You in particular would have loved it. More insights and quotes can be found on the BookLinks blog post on the evening now just out. Hope to catch up with you soon.

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