As a young boy growing up in the country, I would spend the long, summer holidays curled up with my latest book. I would escape the boredom of farm life by being transported all over the world through the characters in the books I was reading .
I visited Narnia by reading the Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe series; I visited the Alps of Switzerland by reading Heidi; the outback of Australia by reading We of The Never, Never. I am sure that I drove the local librarian in our small country library mad as I would spend hours there! I would be at the door ready for her to open the mobile library van when it came by each week to deliver the new books. This love of reading inspired me to be a traveller and, in later life, to explore the world and to visit in person many of the places I had explored in my imagination as a boy.
During 2020 I have rekindled my love of reading and again, whilst not able to travel in person, I have visited many new and familiar places through my reading. Reading really is one of the very simple pleasures in life. I also find that reading is a great stress reliever. Of late, I have kept a book on my desk and when I have been feeling a little stressed, I have picked up my book, read a few pages and then my equilibrium is restored.
In the coming week as we celebrate Book Week, albeit online, I hope that parents can find some time to read with their children. Some of my favourite childhood memories are of cuddling up in bed with my mum reading together each night. It wasn’t necessarily the story which was important, but the time to be together, to show affection and to share a common experience.
All too often in our busy lives we revert to occupying ourselves by being on our phones or our laptops, watching Netflix or playing a video game. Maybe this weekend it is the chance to pick up a book, escape to another part of the world for a couple of hours or to spend some quality time reading a story together.
Happy Book Week!
Mark Hemphill | Head of School