Thank you to iRead Tours for introducing me to Jennifer Carson and her book Dragons Don’t Dance Ballet. You can check out my review of the book in a separate post. Here, I asked Carson about the value of fiction books for young children. As a mother of three, a school administrator and a Girl Scout Leader, I am invested in teaching children and I also love to read so this topic really hits home for me. I hope you enjoy it too!
Jennifer Carson lives in Michigan with her husband, four sons and many furry friends. She grew up on a steady diet of Muppet movies and Renaissance faires and would occasionally be caught reading under the blankets with a flashlight. Besides telling tales, Jennifer likes to create fantasy creatures and characters and publishes her own sewing patterns. Her artwork and patterns can be seen online at thedragoncharmer.com.
Jennifer’s work has been featured in national magazines including: Cloth, Paper, Scissors, Faerie Magazine, Soft Dolls and Animals, Teddy Bear and Friends, and Dolls United.Jennifer’s work has been featured in national magazines including: Cloth, Paper, Scissors, Faerie Magazine, Soft Dolls and Animals, Teddy Bear and Friends, and Dolls United.
The Importance of Reading Fiction for Children
A lot of people ask me if I set out to spread a message with the stories that I write and the short answer is no, but here is the longer answer.
We have been telling stories for the whole of our history. If you look at the earliest stories, they are all about explaining the mysteries of life that we didn’t understand and in conveying the rules of society. We’ve told myths and legends for thousands of years to entertain, and to teach, and we still tell stories for the same reasons today.
One of the misfortunes of our current public educational system (with the common core program) is that it pushes non-fiction books, relegating fiction books to “leisure time” reading at home. This sends a message that fiction books have no educational value, but we all know that this is not true. There are lots of kids who find non-fiction books enjoyable—they love learning about things they are interested in, but non-fiction books provide no life-through-experiences social lessons. We get those through reading—especially reading fiction. Fiction lets us experience things we might not otherwise get to experience—another time, another place, another family. Stories give us the encounter without confronting the actual experience. It lets us practice in our heads perhaps how we would handle the situation.
So, when I write, I don’t think of writing in order to spread a message, but in the telling of a story, many messages can be learned.
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