Building the Imagination: T. C. Shelley on Children’s Book Week

Building the Imagination: T. C. Shelley on Children’s Book Week

I love Book Week because it is a celebration of reading and reading is such an important skill, because imagining is such an important skill. It seems ironic that students are encouraged to do STEM at school but many don’t consider the Literary, Theatrical and Visual Arts as part of a holistic education. I know teachers aren’t generally suggesting this, but when a government cuts funds to the Arts, it says something about the social perception of imagining. Drawing, playing and reading are grassroots activities building the imagination and they must always be available. We must ensure children have buckets, spades, paper, pens, colours and books and all the other tools that help them imagine.

One ‘story’ that always delights me, comes from the conversation Neil Gaiman had with Kasuo Ishiguro in 2015. He talked about a trip to China in 2007 to a Party-sponsored Science-Fiction conference. The writers there said that till recently, science fiction was seen as ‘suspicious and counter-revolutionary’. Yet, while China entered the world market it realised it manufactured things easily, but its people weren’t inventing anything new. They needed to incorporate imaginative reading into their education because, as Gaiman said ‘ imagining is as important as the act of toiling. We have machines that can toil, but we don’t have machines that can imagine’.

It is not just the pragmatic use of imagining that builds a better world, it is the use of reading and imagining that builds an empathic and resilient human, which is necessary for a healthy society. Walking in another individual’s life builds empathy. I also believe one of the most helpful and healing aspects of reading is presenting the reader with a problem they may experience. What is great about this, is a reader will remember that most things are survivable, the character they cared about survived the problem they faced so the reader can too, or the reader can remember the way the character dealt with the problem and what happened afterwards, having practical methods for dealing with conflict. Very often, in children’s literature, we are covering those very real problems in a fairy-tale coat, but nonetheless, the true lesson is learned. For me, this is personally true. Books teach us how to treat others well, how to deal with our problems, and how to create a better world.

Imagining makes us whole people, and reading is a significant element of imagining.  Bring on Book Week!

Read our review of The Monster Who Wasn’t by T. C. Shelley

T.C. Shelley studied Creative Writing and Literature at university. She has been teaching English for over twenty years and her first school was classified as the most remote in Australia. She loves an audience and long before she took up teaching was writing and performing her poetry and short stories. She began writing novels to entertain her daughter, who wisely suggested that she try to get them published. Shelley lives with her husband, her daughter and two dogs in Perth, Western Australia. The Monster Who Wasn’t is her first novel.

Related Articles

Calling All Harry Potter Fans

News | Events & Festivals

27 January 2020

Calling All Harry Potter Fans

Creating Something from Nothing: R.A. Spratt gets philosophical (and a bit wacky) about kids meeting authors

News | Author Related

10 October 2019

Creating Something from Nothing: R.A. Spratt gets philosophical (and a bit wacky) about kids meeting authors

Curious Creatures, Wild Minds: CBCA Book Week 2020

Kids & Ya

5 September 2019

Curious Creatures, Wild Minds: CBCA Book Week 2020

Reading is Your Secret Power: Mary Ryan on Children's Book Week

Kids & Ya

21 August 2019

Reading is Your Secret Power: Mary Ryan on Children's Book Week

Announcing the Winners: 2019 Children’s Book of the Year Awards

Kids & Ya

16 August 2019

Announcing the Winners: 2019 Children’s Book of the Year Awards

Brownies, Leprechauns and Ogres: Read an extract from The Monster Who Wasn't

Kids & Ya

15 August 2019

Brownies, Leprechauns and Ogres: Read an extract from The Monster Who Wasn't

Reading is Our Secret Power: The Better Reading Team on Children's Book Week

Kids & Ya

15 August 2019

Reading is Our Secret Power: The Better Reading Team on Children's Book Week

The Choices We Make: Review of The Monster Who Wasn't

Kids & Ya

13 August 2019

The Choices We Make: Review of The Monster Who Wasn't

New York Adventure: Review of The Good Thieves

Kids & Ya

9 July 2019

New York Adventure: Review of The Good Thieves

Friends, Loyalty and Family: Extract from The Good Thieves

Kids & Ya

9 July 2019

Friends, Loyalty and Family: Extract from The Good Thieves

Synopsis

A brilliantly rich and strange fantasy adventure that will make us all believe in monsters – be they good, bad or somewhere in between. It is a well-known fact that fairies are born from a baby's first laugh. What is not as well documented is how monsters come into being …This is the story of a creature who is both strange and unique. When he hatches down in the vast underground lair where monsters dwell, he looks just like a human boy – much to the disgust of everyone watching. Even the grumpy gargoyles who adopt him and nickname him 'Imp' only want him to steal chocolate for them from the nearby shops. He's a child with feet in both worlds, and he doesn't know where he fits.But little does Imp realise that Thunderguts, king of the ogres, has a great and dangerous destiny in mind for him, and he'll stop at nothing to see it come to pass …
T. C. Shelley
About the author

T. C. Shelley

T.C. Shelley studied Creative Writing and Literature at university. She has been teaching English for over twenty years and her first school was classified as the most remote in Australia. She loves an audience and long before she took up teaching was writing and performing her poetry and short stories. She began writing novels to entertain her daughter, who wisely suggested that she try to get them published. Shelley lives with her husband, her daughter and two dogs in Perth, Western Australia. The Monster Who Wasn't is her first novel.

Books by T. C. Shelley

COMMENTS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *