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E-Books or Paper Books: Which Is Best For Kids?

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From NPR:

The magazine is tiny, “half the size of a credit card,” Gabriel Heaton, deputy director of books and manuscripts at Sothebys, tells NPR’s Linda Wertheimer, and designed to be the right size for the Bronte children’s toy soldiers. Its 19 pages are crammed with more than 4,000 words — short stories, news, even advertisements — discernible only by magnifying glass.

The pages are roughly hewn and much-handled. It’s “what makes it such an evocative object,” Heaton says. “You can almost see her there with her little scissors.”

And on these little pages, the Brontes spun such dreams, each conjuring up entire kingdoms. Charlotte’s fantasy city featured immense palaces and awesome, towering buildings. It was presided over by the Duke of Wellington and his two sons — the heroes of the story.

The tiny hand-printed book could fetch up to $315,000 to $475,000 at the auction house Sotheby’s. One of the stories in the book — written when Brontë was some 14 years old — indeed hints at the “madwoman in the attic” of Jane Eyre.The story contains a “powerful evocation of madness” in which a man imprisons his enemy in the attic and is driven insane by his guilt.

The tiny book literally bears the mark of Brontë, whose name appears on the title page and who must have herself cut the pages and turned them, often. Anyone holding the little book is holding the very object that Brontë herself did.

E-readers are great and perhaps you’re planning to purchase one for a holiday present or have one down on your wish list. But should children start reading print books before “graduating” to the e-book kind? Does it make a difference whether a child reads a book in e-format or in a traditional one, with pages to turn, fold, wrinkle, smooth, pour over? Is the “digital double standard” one with real, with concrete, benefits?

Related Care2 Coverage

Amazon Launches Digital “Lending Library”

Can a Bookstore Not Have Books?

The End of the Story: Borders To Close

 

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123 comments

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3:11PM PDT on Sep 5, 2012

hmmm

2:46AM PDT on Sep 5, 2012

Can't beat holding a book.

2:40AM PDT on Sep 5, 2012

Maybe I'm just another old bag (a paper one, please!) but I think that there's nothing more sensual than a book when it comes to reading. I'm presently testing reading on a tablet and it's true, it's quite interesting to be able to carry numerous books with you on such a light and handy device. But I can't smell the printing and paper perfume, I can't caress the pages texture... it seems like I'm missing the main part of the experience of reading. An old book has a history and holding this book in your hand is part of the reading experience. Depriving kids from this, is to my idea, is depriving him from this magic, from this tactile and olfactory feelings.

6:12PM PST on Feb 6, 2012

ty

2:30PM PST on Feb 5, 2012

Just imagine trying to help a child experience The Velveteen Rabbit without paper pages!

2:13PM PST on Feb 5, 2012

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of lying around, reading a book and letting it take me to far-away ~ or fantasy ~ places. Can anyone imagine being a child with a beloved Dr. Seuss book and not being able to flip through the pages over and over again to look at the fantastic illustrations? I still have many of my childhood books: Yertle the Turtle; The Lonely Doll; Winnie The Pooh (a 6th birthday present from my great aunt) and many others. I have passed them on to my grandson. They are the greatest treasures of my childhood and he adores them.

10:49AM PST on Feb 5, 2012

My eldest brother and I have frequent debates about this. Yes, it really is handy to have that book which is so hard to find or can only be found in the library five counties away on google for a comparatively small fee....but honestly, in my opinion, nothing can compare to the feeling of that book in your hands, the way you can so easily become absorbed in the world of a good book that you no longer are even aware of the brief moments when you have to turn the page. This as opposed to the annoying click, scroll, adjust, back-up if you've gone too far process which believe me, can get really old really fast.

3:58AM PST on Nov 28, 2011

Thanks for the article.

6:55PM PST on Nov 27, 2011

Nothing like the feel and smell of a real book , new or old the anticipation of opening a book for the first time wondering what you may find within it's pages, stories or pictures is something special and should be passed on to our young...

8:58PM PST on Nov 26, 2011

By the time I am married with kids I pray to God they won't send them home with an e-book.

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