Pullman’s never ending work for the values of reading and books creates headlines

Photograph: Ulf Andersen/Getty Images

Photograph: Ulf Andersen/Getty Images

“I’d add in the letter accompanying that went round to all schools a quotation from Albert Einstein, a great scientist, ‘if you want your children to be intelligent read them fairytales and if you want them to be more intelligent read them more fairytales’.”

These words come from 2005 ALMA recipient Philip Pullman during a public appearance at the Economist Books of the Year event the other week. In the Sunday edition of the British newspaper the Telegraph, Pullman compares the way in which books are taught in schools to torture;

The award-winning writer of the fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials criticised teachers for the “painful” way they tore stories apart to try to reveal what they “really mean”.

The result is pupils who end up hating the books, he said. Instead of being drilled and quizzed about them, children should be given time to enjoy the stories.

When you read a book, “you should get magic from it”, he said. “There should be plenty of books and plenty of time, and teachers should leave children alone.

Read full article here.

Philip Pullman’s commitment to promoting reading issues has created much attention in the media. Last year’s big and important question concerned the closure of libraries in the UK.  Pullman then declared war against ’supidity’ of library closes and stated that “A book symbolises the whole intellectual history of mankind; it’s the greatest weapon ever devised in the war against stupidity. Beware of anyone who tries to make books harder to get at.”

Ps. Did you know that his novel The Firework-Maker’s Daughter is to be turned into an opera for children? More info from the BBC News to read here.

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