Electronic books are great and have their place in today's society. However, I will never feel that hardcopy books can be completely replaced with the plug-in, charged-up version.
One of the things that the news is now releasing is that today's children have so much access to electronics that they are missing out on the real world. The real world of parks, bike riding, skate-boarding, hopscotching, jump-roping, hide and go seeking, and all of those other wonderful activities that only a child can tackle with a massive amount of energy and exuberance.
That youthful exuberance is what makes a childhood so dang magical! Once that time-frame in our lives has passed, we can never clamour enough to get it back. After that time has passed, it is truly in the past. For electronically-driven people who have children, I cry out for them to let those kids have a full, active childhood while they still can! The days of electronics dominating their lives will come soon enough, and there is a time for enjoying such things...for older people, such as me, such as right now...as I am 44 years old and sitting here involved with my "Reality Writing" in this blog.
With the fun times of video-gaming being trumped by online access with hand-held devices on all sorts that can be taken anywhere, it will probably become necessary for parents to eventually schedule actual play time outdoors or schedule a play date with another real live child for some old-fashioned interaction.
Sitting in the empty park with the rusted swings hanging from not being used, will those children with their scheduled dates know how to actually laugh instead of telling the other they are LOLing?
One of the fears of today, for the kids of the future, is that communication will be learned electronically, but that direct communication between two people or a group of children might be a thing of the past. Just as how my generation would watch couples do the jitter-bug on television, yes it looks so fun, but people of my time NEVER or RARELY actually experienced such a thing ourselves. What activities will the children of the future be left NOT experiencing for themselves?
For me, it is unimaginable. My children were raised in the time of video games, but I spent so much time outdoors with my daughters that they could not imagine being forced to stay indoors...that would have been pure torture.
Heck, I spent many a day laying on the concrete driveway with my girls, looking up into the sky and doing our best to perform some serious cloud-watching. Each of us would spot an image in the clouds...oh look, it is a giant heart with Cupid in the rear as wild horses go prancing by!
Well, not that detailed, but you get my cloud picture. We saw many bunny rabbits in those clouds.
For us, many days, for years, were spent riding bikes around the neighborhood. If my children were too young to ride a bike, they rode on a seat attached to the back of one of our bikes. Eventually, they got their own bike with training wheels. Finally, they would graduate to a bike of their own, usually pink.
One of the most fun things I can recall is riding bikes with my children, us each taking turns to lead the others, and the goal would be to wind our way down each neighborhood street in search of water sprinklers. On a hot day in Texas, riding a bike with the breeze flowing past, cycling through the water droplets, was incredible. Spending time on an electronic cannot give a full body experience such as that.
Virtual water sprinkler droplets? Really?
An electronic cannot impart the true smell of fresh air, the wind blowing through your hair, and the sun upon your skin.
More than that, I cannot picture a toddler in a house that does not have an assortment of books to explore. Can you imagine the young child who is not given the chance to hold a real book? The child who does not have the opportunity to feel a book's pages in their hands, to smell paper, to see print on a page that becomes a bit worn with time...that is indeed a sad picture.
I love holding a book in my hands and for my eyes to scan a printed page that I know my mother had once held and read. How can an electronic substitute that connective sensation?
What are children supposed to do to in order to have their grandmother's books available for their little hands to grasp?
All I know is that I will be one of those grandmothers who has a full children's library. My grandchildren will be able to hold and to read the same books their mothers read when they were little children. My grandchildren will be taught what it means to take great care of books and to have reverence for their existence. They will not have to plug in when they come over to get a good read, they will have access to old-fashioned books bound within a cover instead of within the glossy confines of an electronic device.
Through the years, I have taken great pains to keep many old books preserved and ready for the future to enjoy.
How much longer will be it before these books are no longer considered "worthwhile?" I already have a family member who is a teacher, an English teacher, and she refuses to buy another hard copy book; she insists the future of books is strictly an electronic future and that home libraries will soon be a waste of time, money and space. Shudder! This from an English teacher!
Needless to say, I was shocked, yet could not disagree more heatedly. My personal library will stand testimony to the fact that bound books are never to be a discarded piece of history.
If that is indeed the situation for our future, then I will be the grandma who has the library full of books that are considered antiques; these books will be the heirlooms of their keeping.
A few of the books below will be part of that collection...
This book is great for the kid who feels that their younger sibling is a pure monster. I had two little monsters while growing up, so I loved this book myself.
Every child loves to read about being able to torture their babysitter. Maybe this is the reason today's generation is reading "Fifty Shades of Grey." Just a disturbing thought...
Amelia Bedelia is always a treat.
And if your kids like a good scary book so they can be traumatized, "Bony Legs" is an excellent choice. Both of my daughters would cheer and cringe to have this book read to them. I promise, the kids can lay in bed and look at the terrifying pictures for as long as they want when reading this hard-copy book and it will not require new batteries, ever.
Oh, the joy of books. Electronic is nice, a great bonus and a fun way to read, but for me, it will never replace the version that takes up mass, is purchased, then gets to remain on your bookshelf or someone else's until it falls apart at the seams. A little dust collected along the top portion of an old book is a wonderful part of the experience as well, until it's time to do some dusting. But, I will contend that book dust is different from other types of dust. It's more "literary."
A hard-copy book, if taken care of, will probably long out-last the latest electronic device that will soon need to be upgraded. The real version of the book will have the capacity to sit on that shelf, ready and waiting for the next person to experience it first-hand.
And I will be falling asleep tonight with my latest read at my side. My books...so comforting.