by Cygne Sauvage
“Doesn’t she know that there are things called toys?” is the vehement reaction of the little girl who received a set of books from me. These were well chosen reading materials, made sure of their appropriateness to her age and interest. Yet, at the age of six, reading a book has not caught up with her enthusiasm for the pre-installed computer games in her electronic gadget, latest doll crazes from the enterprising movie producers and collecting Peppa Pig in various poses and expressions.
This personal crusade to inculcate reading commenced upon observation of children within my family circle and those of my colleagues’ nibbling on their food with eyes set on the monitor of either their mobile phones or ipods. Doesn’t Apple realize the inanity of its corporate brand which represents the fruit of knowledge? Well, we cannot put the blame on big business for having turned a big chunk of the world’s children population into zombies.
A child’s home environment casts the formative values. Partly responsible for my penchant for reading is an uncle who used to stay with us while attending college until the time he reviewed for his state exam. A big bulk of his luggage are books and very seldom do I chance upon him not preoccupied with one of the volumes. My mother, likewise, on rare occasions not burdened with housework spends her brief siesta with either a magazine or a book rather than with neighbors for an exchange of juicy gossips or with other housewives who delve into trivial pursuits. My grandmother, whose trade involves collection of old magazines, entitled me to browse into them which are housed in a small warehouse-like hut. Perusing these foreign publications of glossy, colorful pages never fails to leave me in awe and entice me further into the habit. Thus, though the public financed school I attend that time cannot render quality books that would arouse enthusiasm in the students, my household provides me the atmosphere as well as the materials. I am so appreciative when my uncle hands me down all his entire Perry Mason series, my initial encounter with detective stories. This is prior to my being able to afford discriminating with food for my thought.
Hence, those who are in this similar crusade as mine can only do so much as promote books through gift-giving on various occasions. I choose to target children, exposing them early to the genre for their impressionable minds. But, it seems I have been beaten by Samsung and Steve Jobs.