I once read a story about how J.K. Rowling with her Harry Potter series had saved a generation of children from growing up not liking books. She had made reading cool again and I inferred from the article that her books had opened up a world of imagination for children that they would continue to grow and build upon as they developed their reading skills. But it has been my experience that is not the case. Instead, I have found that tweens and teens are more often captivated over and over by the same two novelists, Rowling and Stephanie Meyers. Now I have nothing against reading these books, once. However, when all a child does is read the same two series over and over and over and over, is it really helping them to expand their skills and imaginations? Is it leading them to broader horizons? I say no, I think these two series, Twilight and Harry Potter have done more to damage the reading skills of children than not reading at all.
I remember cutting my teeth on Clive Cussler’s adventure novels when I was young. Once I finished everything he had written, I moved on to another author who had piqued my interest, Alistair MacLean. Once I finished the books he wrote I branched out from there. Those books led me to other, which eventually led me to some classics, some classics sent me to some history books and so on and so forth. It finally got to the point that I would go to the book store and read the backs of multiple novels and stories trying to find something I liked. I found many, many books by various authors over the years. But, I just don’t see the same behavior out of children who have read the aforementioned series. Instead I see them pining to re-read the same fantasy world and escape reality all over again. How does that advance education? I see it as more of an escape from reality, which is all right once in a while, but the same escape over and over only leads to stagnation.
These children have no imagination. Instead they rely on digital media to stimulate, entertain, and educate them. The latter is just not something that you can entrust to the digital realm, it has to be seized by the individual and sought. The best way to find it is through books. You can learn great truths and solve mysteries through the written word, but you have to pick up and read a book first. Don’t let your children, your brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, stagnate their entire lives by letting them escape over and over into the same craptacular fiction. Insist they find something with more meat, substance to read. There are plenty of classical literature books that are both stimulating and educational. Take the responsibility into your own hands and remove these piles of garbage from their libraries.
J.K. Rowling is not a hero in my book, instead she is a lady who wrote a series so wonderful and magical that children don’t want to go on reading anything else. I wonder if early Christian protesters of Harry Potter weren’t right, maybe Rowling is the devil, her novels stripping children of the desire to actually read something with actual substance instead turning to series that are just as, if not worse, in content like Stephanie Meyers. A series of books, whom one friend told me was the worst kind of fictional drivel written in the worst way, but at the same time it was just too captivating to put down, even though they knew they were reading crap.
Well, our youth can’t tell crap from the real thing, they are going to need our help. If we do nothing to help them, we are going to raise an entire generation of witch and vampire addled idiots.