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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

Do books have a future?

December 12, 2007

It's interesting to think about a holiday season with no books. I'm talking about the traditional book, and picture books in particular.

When I read a recent Newsweek article about Jeff Bezo's Amazon Kindle — the newest generation of the e-book — well, it gave me pause. Will it replace the traditional book — a practically perfect device as the piece states?

We know that children from 0 to 6 are already media savvy. In fact, research indicates that young children actually spend more time in front of screens (television, computer, etc.) than playing outdoors. Reading comes in a distant third.

I'm not sure I'd want to cuddle up with a child and a Kindle (or any other e-book for that matter), but it sure is an interesting thought. Jean Gralley, an illustrator and author of children's books thinks that picture books can reside in an electronic medium.

Can technology encourage reading? It's been suggested that it can — and I suppose that makes sense. One has to be literate to use technology, right? And decoding pictures — as pre-readers do — is not totally dissimilar to decoding words, is it?

Let me know what you think of e-books, digital picture books, and where these changes may lead to. I'll keep thinking about it...but THIS holiday season, it'll be traditional format of books for me.


Do you think the use of the Kindle and like technology will be used mostly in libraries? It sure would have all of the benefits you noted, but I still wonder if it's child-friendly...What's your take on that question?

I work in a library and we all seem to be excited about the new Kindle. It certainly will deter our books from becoming moldy, water damaged, bug houses and just plain dusty. Not to mention that the prices of real estate here in Florida are astronomical and a smaller home with less storage is the only way my family can afford to live. A Kindle would definately cut down on our need for book storage space. The new generation are very impatient and used to instant gratification. The Kindle seems like the way to go for the future.

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"The man who does not read good books is no better than the man who can't." — Mark Twain