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February 18, 2014

The Importance of Books to the Next Generation.

BOOKS

I have come to terms with the fact that my daughter won’t know what a floppy disk is, or maybe even a CD.

I understand that if she ever got her hands on an old Nokia phone (maybe at a museum), she’d have no idea how to play Snake and would be utterly bored with the thought of a game without graphics.

I refuse, however, to let my infant daughter grow up without books. Not Nook books, or books-on-tape or e-books of any kind. But paper books.

I want her to feel the pages in between her fingers and smell the print. If I’m really lucky, she’ll have the chance to hear the laminate of a library book as she reads.

My father’s office in his home is walled with bookshelves. Ever since I discovered the joy of reading, I found such pleasure in going into his office and skimming the backs of books until one suited my mood.

Whether it is my stubbornness or true love, I have avoided the digital wave in books since the beginning. I have never read a book on a tablet or listened to one through my car or headphones.

I have flowers smushed between pages of my favorite books, bindings so worn they are almost useless. For an author, I can’t imagine there is anything more exciting than getting their first shipment of books with their names on it.

Stories that take us to another time and place should not be contained in something than can be deleted and forgotten amongst Angry Bird and Online Poker.

My fear is that when my child is old enough to go to school, books will be obsolete. It’s much cheaper to download a file than buy hundred of paperbacks, right?

For every 100 books Amazon.com sells, they sell 105 e-books. The gap will only continue to grow.

It doesn’t stop there. There are apps for babies! A digital flashcard system, if you will, of simple pictures and text so they learn vocabulary at a proper speed.

Oakley has never seen one of these apps. While my iPad may be fun to look at, her learning is done with baby books made of cardboard that she can chew on when she’s done watching me turn the pages.

By the time she’s old enough to enjoy books, I too will have a room full of books. A room where she can go into and shut the door, go for an old favorite or a new piece of literature from a genre she’s not used to.

Then, she’ll take the book into her room, curl up on her bed under a dim light and turn the pages of a real book.

Maybe she’ll corner a page to keep her place in the story, or maybe she’ll use a bookmark. If books have taught me anything, it’s that the options are endless.

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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photo: Provided by author

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