Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The House of Books: Books in the house is good for children. Is your a home a book house?

I read a disturbing article the other day which said that 9 year olds in the UK are more likely to own a mobile phone than their own book press here for link. This was a completely bizarre notion to me. I have an eight year old, and I have never entertained the idea of giving her a mobile. However I was flawed by the prospect of kid’s not having books.

When we recently built a house and moved in, we had three priorities for furniture, 1) Beds, 2) Sofa and 3) Bookcases for the kids’ books. Now having just spent every bean on the house we had to make the shelves out of begged, borrowed and stolen wood. The kids helped and we made a reading corner for each of them in their rooms.

The children have books. Lots of books. That’s not to say we spend a fortune on them, they have my old book from when I was a child, books we buy in charity shops (one local one has five books for £1 for adult books, and kids’ books at 10p each.) Then we have the books that are gifts or brought new. The kids love books and from tiny children would look at picture books for hours. But then there have always been books in the house.

I’ve just had a quick count; we have 6 bookcases, one for each child. One for YA and my TBR (to be read pile) one that houses reference and non-fiction books, one that’s mostly fairy tales and folklore, and one of DVD’s (well come on). Ophs; I forgot, another for sheet music, and a further one for writing guides. That’s a lot of books!

So why so many? Well I love them as objects, they are much more interesting to me then ornaments, plus they reflect who you are as a person. I have some book that are just fabulous because, they are outdated but beautiful like my 1950’s sex education guide, or some obscure picture books, all sourced in jumble sales.  

So with the new kindle revolution I have been thinking; are we antiquated? Are we obsessive? Well in all honesty; probably, but yesterday there was an article in the daily telegraph that made me feel much better about our book collection.

The article states that the amount of books in a childs home has an impact on their education saying that A child raised in a household with a 500-book library would result in a child remaining in education for an average of three years longer than those with little access to literature. It also went on to say that the number of books can impact the child’s earning potential as an adult and  that research ‘suggests that filling homes with a range of novels and reference books may be the difference between leaving school at 18 and going to university, which can be worth up to £200,000 more in lifetime earnings.’

You may say that the amount of books is related to income and earnings, and that fewer books or no books, as sign or poverty. That is of course partly (sadly) true, but there are still library’s, Book Crossing, and as I said bargain books to be found in charity shops, and not to mention associations like Book Trust that give every child books in their early years.

But one thing this article shows is that books have a positive influence on children just by simply being part of the environment that they live in. (kick that kindle!)

My children's bookcases and mine, that my Dad made when I was a child.


  1. I've always been surrounded by books, always loved owning books, reading and hearing stories. I'm so glad that my daughter feels the same way. I couldn't imagine a house that wasn't stuffed full of books and find it so sad to think that some children grow up without them.

  2. Hi Sue, there is something magical about books, and knowing your surrounded by stories and knowledge. It is always sad to go into a house without books, and this is why I think the work that associations like Book Crossing, and Book Trust, are so valuable.

  3. How lovely to have a bookcase made for you by your father as a child. I am horrified by the mobile ownership over book ownership - 8 is young surely!

    Lovely post + pics.

    Actually found you through the 'tall tales' blog - I followed the links to a few people who entered the competition, as I am newly blogging and seeking to make connections with other YA writers! I have followed you ;)

  4. Hi Vik, thanks for finding my blog. I know I was truly horrified by the whole phone vs books stats.

    I'll check out your blog now...