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Message from the National Librarian
The Magic of Books
Opening a book gives a child magical powers. Through the power of his imagination, he can learn extraordinary things; the young reader may be comforted by a story, he may tremble as he uncovers the schemes of an unsavoury character or he may further discover the fantasy world of tales and legends. By opening a book, the child allows himself to be transported by the magic of words and pictures.
When a child chooses a book in a public library, when his teacher brings him to the school library or when he enters a bookstore, the child is carried away by The Magic of Books. When an adult reads a story to a child, when he buys him a book for his birthday, when he registers the youngster at a public library or accompanies him at story time, The Magic of Books is at work. When a school principal expands the school's library despite other priorities, or when a parent is involved in fundraising for his child's school library, they are taking part in The Magic of Books.
Read Up on It celebrates the importance and richness of Canadian books for children, in French and in English. The objective of the kit is to introduce young readers, parents, teachers and librarians to these books, to promote Canadian authors and illustrators, and to encourage reading. The books selected for The Magic of Books reflect the theme of magic, fairytales and fantasy in tales, novels, non-fiction and picture books. Young readers are in need of this dimension in a story: a hero who lives extraordinary adventures despite being a simple human being. In The Uses of Enchantment, Bruno Bettelheim insists that "today, more than ever, the child needs to be reassured by the image of a being who, despite his isolation, is able to establish significant, enriching and rewarding relationships with the world around him." 1 [translation]
The illustrator Kady MacDonald Denton, whose watercolour from the illustrated book I Wished for a Unicorn graces the cover of this year's Read Up on It, explains: "Imagination is a learning tool and an escape and a gift to enrich life." In I Wished for a Unicorn, the young character is bored in the garden; the dragon and the fabulous unicorn adorning the cover page are the fruits of that child's fancy. The character and the reader both possess the key to the magical universe of the book.
Read Up on It aims to promote Canadian authors, illustrators and their books, thus encouraging youngsters and their families to read. Each year, it contains Canadian books selected along a different theme, a list of Canadian books that have won Canadian and foreign literary awards, and books in alternate format for young readers (or their parents) who are print disabled.
1Bruno Bettelheim, Psychanalyse des contes de fées (Paris: Éditions Robert Laffont, 1976). Available in English under the title The Uses of Enchantment (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1976).