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Book LoveThis past week in The Guardian, there was a wonderful article that contains a lecture that author Neil Gaiman recently gave to The Reading Agency, a British organization devoted to promoting literacy.  Gaiman is an incredibly prolific author whose much celebrated work spans many genres.  He is best known for his comic book series, The Sandman, as well as the novels Coraline and Stardust, both of which were made into films.  This lecture is a wonderful argument for encouraging our children to read, to use their imagination and daydream.  I really suggest that anyone who has  kids or is interested in seeing the imagination flourish take a look at this article.

There are too many things to point out from this lecture, including the ability of reading to nurture empathy, but the one  that really struck home was his accounting of his trip to China.  This is what he said:

I was in China in 2007, at the first party-approved science fiction and fantasy convention in Chinese history. And at one point I took a top official aside and asked him Why? SF had been disapproved of for a long time. What had changed? 

It’s simple, he told me. The Chinese were brilliant at making things if other people brought them the plans. But they did not innovate and they did not invent. They did not imagine. So they sent a delegation to the US, to Apple, to Microsoft, to Google, and they asked the people there who were inventing the future about themselves. And they found that all of them had read science fiction when they were boys or girls.

Seriously, this article is good reading for anyone interested in bettering our humanity.  Click here to go to it now..

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