February 10, 2011
I AM ALWAYS TAKEN ABACK TO VISIT SOMEONE'S HOME AND FIND NO BOOKS. IT GREATLY SADDEN ME WHEN IT IS A HOME WHERE A CHILD LIVES.
Tatar, Maria, Enchanted Hunters: The Power of Stories in Childhood (New York: Norton, 2009) ("In real life, children are far more like silenced subalterns than imperial adventurers and conquistadors. For them, mobility comes in the form of books, and reading oddly becomes akin to an exercise in moving from that position of silenced subaltern to sovereign imperial subject. Books enable children to read the minds of characters, become absorbed in their lives, see their worlds, and experience an exceptional intensity of feeling. But . . . there is far more to it than that. For the child reading, the threshold between reality and fantasy can mysteriously vanish. And what Walter Benjamin called a 'dance with words' stimulates, enlivens, and flips a switch so that the child returns to the real world with renewed curiosity. The marvel that leaps out from these fast-paced narratives lead readers to wonder not just about the world of fiction but also about the world they inhabit. As children read, they also become aware of how authors do things with words. . . . [T]hey too begin to appreciate the magic of words in a process that begins with enchantment and ends with an empowering form of demystification--an understanding that the magic is in you and in the words you use, and nowhere else." Id. at 137. "Stories help children develop intellectual curiosity about the world, and they arouse the exploratory energy that allows them to take some control over their own destinies." Id. at 157.).