On a car trip this morning my daughter said, out of the blue, 'I don't want the world to end.'
Taken aback I asked 'What makes you think the world will end?' She didn't hesitate to say 'I don't want the flowers to die and the hot planet to come.' She's four. Just. It certainly made me pause for thought.
Where do these big thoughts come from? Has she heard something? Is she repeating something or did she overhear some things on the news? Seconds later she declared that I was a purple lollipop so it wasn't all-bad.
Children have so many inputs and influences and are such little sponges at this age. It's so inspiring, hilarious and at times sobering. As Audrey gets slightly older she's becoming more aware of what's 'going on' around her. I wonder how much of it is appropriate, or not, to be exposing her to and it's made me cognisant that I'm not necessarily the one in control of all the things she's exposed to. When she's with friends, relatives, a babysitter, at Kindergarten - what's going on there?! What is she seeing and hearing?
An ancient Jesuit motto '“Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man” has had me concerned. Have I turned my little person into a worrywart? Have I inadvertently exposed her to too much fear? By explaining things in a truthful way am I making her grow up too soon? Basically questioning myself, that's what we do as parent's, right? Thankfully my (at times) sensible partner responded by saying 'that motto is really referring to meeting a child's emotional and intellectual needs, not so much about content.' Which did, in part, help to allay my own sense of parental inadequacy. It did however also bring me to a debate currently in the press relating to digital content for children, specifically e-readers and tablets in terms of books.
Obviously our world of Dream Wonderland is a tangible one in terms of our printed books. I will always be a fan of the printed book no matter what happens in the digital world, but we also have platforms available for downloads of our books on iTunes, Amazon and soon there will be more. Audrey loves the read aloud narrated version with music on iTunes; we put it on auto page turn, and let the narration run. She hasn't lost her appetite for books in physical form (see her bookshelf right). She loves seeing the words highlight as they read aloud during the storytelling. I'm sure it's helped with her word recognition, her own story telling ability and given her a new way to enjoy the Dream Wonderland characters. It is still putting her to sleep seven months later and she can't wait for The River, our second book in the series to be finished.
I did poke around a little to see how the world of eBooks are impacting on the consumption of books in general and here's what I found.
E-BOOK SALES AS A PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL BOOK SALES WORLDWIDE
IN 2013 AND 2018
It's anticipated that in 2018 the eBooks will account for over 25% of total book sales worldwide. That's more than a 50% increase from total eBook sales in 2013, so it's definitely on the increase.
Our bookshelf is still stuffed with children's books (see above) and we just got a new little batch for her 4th birthday, not all about princesses, which I was pleased about. I'd be happy to never hear about another prince, evil stepmother, or the importance of frou frou and taffeta again, but I suppose I'm not the target audience.
There is still a little resistance to the idea of a digital book, or a lack of knowledge about what they are, where to find them, what they offer, or at least that's what I'm getting from some friends I've spoken to who are parents. Perhaps I forget, since Abigail and I have been immersing ourselves in this world for sometime, that not everyone knows the what, where and how of digital books (eBooks, Audio-books etc.), where to find them or even how to 'consume' them.
Here's a useful 'Rough Guide' on various ways of consuming eBooks:
Obviously we are 'pro' digital book formats, we are using them for Dream Wonderland. To me it's a no-brainer; they are readily available, easily accessed, sometimes free or a lot less expensive than paper versions and available on so many platforms - phones, iPad's, Tablets, E-Readers, MP3 formats for playing in the car (Audio-books), your Smart TV or home computer. The thing I do try to remember is to turn off the WI-Fi! This doesn't need to be on once the Audio-book or eBook is downloaded.
The River is due late May 2017 on iTunes and Amazon and OF COURSE in print.