Spring Reading!

  • 2022-09-01

Hello, Spring!

(And for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, hello, autumn!)

A new season of new beginnings. And while the buds are starting to take shape on the branches, The Fuzz-Fuzz has more in store for the year ahead.

The Fuzz-Fuzz has done so well over the last 11 months, that it is now on the Department of Education for Gauteng’s recommended reading list!  Yep! PAWSOME!!

And, excitingly, we’re looking closely at translating the Fuzz-Fuzz into isiZulu & isiXhosa! So keep an eye out. It’s on its way to shelves near you soon!

 But to backtrack a bit…

August was a busy month for me with so many local readings in Port Elizabeth, and a book tour in the Western Cape. Jam-packed days of readings and signings at schools, bookshops and libraries. In total, I read to over 2000 children in August!

At every reading, the best part for me is seeing those little faces come to life and become animated. I love watching the children fall into, and become a part of the story itself. And I must say, I do love when adults are there too. Hearing them laugh out loud is its own kind of happy. Adults becoming kids again is very cool!

The joy these readings give, is for me, the most wonderful reward.

An important part of the readings for me is entertaining with unexpected value-adds. Like my shoes. And my clothes. I am apparently a bit eccentric. (It’s taken me a while to come to terms with this word, but I guess it’s true.) I do love colour. I do love fun. I do love the unexpected. I do love dressing up and playing a part, and as such, have a rather fun collection of shoes that I refer to as ‘my reading shoes’. They are 100% over-the-top, entirely magical! The children absolutely love them, and I get plenty of ooohs and aaaaahhs! So yes, as I approach my 50th birthday, It’s apparent that I am in fact, eccentric. If I am headed in Iris Apfels’ direction though, I’m ok with that. There certainly` are worse things to be than fun!

Spring reading

While I was in the Fairest Cape, I read at diverse places, ranging from high income brackets to the very poor and underprivileged. As always, I aimed to bring my own brand of ‘Jennifer Magic’ to each of my interactions with these little people.

It was so interesting to note the differences in the reactions between the children from better backgrounds, and those less fortunate. Those from better backgrounds, asked multiple questions, interjected often, became engaged in the story, responded with animated faces and laughter, while I found those from the more impoverished and disadvantaged areas to be more thoughtful, reserved, and less inclined to speak out.

I guess there are a million reasons why that would be.

But it got me thinking; can an hour spent with a stranger reading to them really make a difference? 

So I made a few calls to some of the places I visited to find out what they’d say. General feedback was that it makes an ENORMOUS impact. Imagine that. My short visit was decidedly beneficial.

For each of those children, regardless of their circumstances, the one common denominator was that for an hour or so,  every single one of those children was transported somewhere else. Somewhere in their imagination. Somewhere magical. Somewhere colourful. Somewhere happy. That hour was escapism, and they were the travelers.

And yes, if they enjoyed the books, they will ask to read them again. They’ll get them from their school or community libraries, and in the process they’ll discover more wonderful books that will inspire them, and so on and so forth. And there, right there, is the purpose of reading aloud.

If my once off reading can have an impact, just imagine the impact you have on your child when you read to them. Phenomenal really!

And right there is a significant point to note: The newest ‘all-round medicine’ prescribed by paediatricians, is reading aloud to your child. For children from disadvantaged families, it could make the difference between graduating from high school or falling behind before they even step inside a classroom. Reading is very often the critical factor that breaks the poverty cycle. And all it takes… just 15 minutes a day.

So, as we head into this season of newness, regeneration and renewal, make your resolution to READ ALOUD MORE TO YOUR KIDS! (Of course, that includes reading my books!)

So, happy spring to you! I cannot wait to see what September holds in store!

Keep reading! Keep imagining!

Love, Jennifer xoxo