Children's reading: entertainment, enlightenment and education
Guest author Hilary Hawkes began writing books and poems when she was only 8 years old. She was 19 when a magazine published 12 of her short stories. Her 'Strawberry Jam' books are for pre-school to age 12 readers. The series includes a project called 'The Friendship Adventure', which highlights 'awareness of differences, disabilities, uniqueness in everyone to stories that link to fun activities and games'.
Hilary has a degree in publishing and English, together with qualifications in nursery and pre-school teaching. 'Little Chestnuts Pre-school' uses fun stories, games and rhymes 'to enhance alphabet knowledge, thinking and pre-literacy skills'. She's written non-fiction books about Aspberger's Syndrome, Autism and Pre-School Choices.
Here, she writes about how she sees the purpose of children's books, not just for their entertainment value but for educating and enlightening the minds of young children, to make them more aware of the need for kindness, compassion and acceptance of the differences among peoples in today's world.
Strawberry Jam Books
by Hilary Hawkes
Stories can be used to help children understand that people and people’s lives are all different or that differences in likes, abilities, physical and cultural or racial differences are good things and not reasons to fear or exclude or bully.
Difference is good too!
One of my really favourite quotes is this one from the well-known and much loved author AA Milne “The things that make me different are the things that make me”. How important it is to help children realise that their own uniqueness and individuality are things to nurture, value and celebrate – and that this is true for everyone. Difference is not only good but needed too.