Books Are Here To Stay
Back when the world went quiet in March of 2020, both children and adults found themselves with more time at home. We thought this would be a temporary situation but eventually, we were working and schooling our children from home.
During this time, the book community stepped up to support children nationwide in many ways. Not all children have access to books and as research suggests in many ways, reading at an early age is essential.
CONNECTION WITH CREATIVES
Authors and illustrators began hosting free video chats with children to read aloud to them or to teach them about the tools and strategies involved in creating a published book. Publishers gave copyright permissions to teachers to read their books online to supplement their digital lessons plans. Companies got creative with getting books into the homes of children. One way we were able to help out was by partnering with an American Sign Language translator who read our books alongside our authors in recordings we made available on YouTube.
CURB-SIDE PICK UP
Libraries and bookstores began packaging orders for customers to be picked up safely outside their buildings. Some bookstores had at home deliveries that they offered at no additional cost to make sure readers had access to books during the quarantine restrictions. As a bonus, libraries lifted their late fees to allow patrons to keep their books for longer periods of time.
Publishers quickly pivoted to reformat books into ebook versions. Libraries allowed for unlimited access to ebooks on their digital platforms. Ebook sales increased exponentially as well!
ONLINE READING PROGRAMS
Reading programs like EPIC were no longer being used as supplemental support in the classroom but were now used as a large part of digital learning. Digital readers offered free and discounted access for families and schools.
Libraries and local companies hosted Book Drives to gather free books to provide to families in their communities. We witnessed Walk and Read programs outdoors where families could read a picture book on posters outside. Some communities had volunteers delivering free books to homes on bikes!
What is it that we learned during the last year and a half about the importance of books for children? Reading is the foundation of all learning and books aren’t going anywhere! Even though we saw digital learning take over for a long period of time, regular book sales held steady the entire time (find our more about reading trends of 2020 in this infographic by Global English Editing)
Companies thought outside of the box to provide access to books in many ways but overall, we still see that print books supersede ebook sales for children.
Books teach more than just academic information. We learned that books can provide children with windows and mirrors into other places and a variety of situations for them to connect to emotionally. Having a character in a book go through a scary situation where fear and anxiety are involved, make children feel they are not alone. These empathic stories give readers ideas on how they can cope with the unfamiliar world around them.
The Covid-19 pandemic brought its challenges in many ways. We know that when the world presents us with uncertainties, books continue to provide calm in the storm.
Maria Dismondy is the founder of the children’s book publishing company, Cardinal Rule Press. When Maria isn’t working, she can be found embarking on adventures throughout southeast Michigan and beyond, where she lives with her husband and three book-loving children.