The question is why do we need books? What is it about literature that is valuable? Here is a great article I read written by The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance that answers this question.

Books create warm emotional bonds between adults and kids when they read books together.

Books help kids develop basic language skills and profoundly expand their vocabularies—much more than any other media.

Books are interactive; they demand that kids think. Fiction and nonfiction books widen our consciousness. They give us new ways to think and new ideas. They expand our universe beyond time and place and inspire our own original thoughts.

Books develop critical thinking skills. A book is read by an individual. It has no laugh track or musical score that emotionally primes a reader’s reaction. You alone decide what you think about a book and its contents with no one leaning over your shoulder telling you how to think.

Books develop and nourish kids’ imaginations, expanding their worlds.Picture books introduce young children to the world of art and literature. Novels and nonfiction books stimulate kids’ sensory awareness, helping kids to see, hear, taste, feel, and smell on an imagined level. Books inform our imaginations inspiring creativity.

Books let kids try on the world before they have to go out into it. Books give kids an opportunity to experience something in their imaginations before it happens to them in real life. Books help prepare kids for their next stage of maturity, vicariously preparing for the “grown-up” world.

Books help us to understand ourselves, to find out who we are. Books strengthen our self-confidence and help us to understand why we are who we are. They help us discover where we come from and help us figure out where we want to go.

Books help children and adults to open up, to move beyond self-absorption and connect to other people. Books show us the inner workings of multiple perspectives and let us know there is more than one way to view the world. Books build connections and broaden our capacity to empathize; they help us to understand others. Books help us to become more compassionate.

Books help kids to chart their own moral and ethical course. Books help us to reflect on right and wrong, good and evil. Books can offer guidance and help us to determine our life priorities, our own set of values.

Books answer questions.

Books create questions.

Books provide the opportunity to share cultural experiences. When kids read the same book, enjoying a common reading experience, peer bonds are built within a generation. When children, parents, and grandparents share classic books, extended familial and community bonds are formed creating a shared frame of reference.

Books offer a wide breadth of information, experience, and knowledge. But unlike many electronic mediums, books also offer a great depth of information, experience, and knowledge. Books inform us about other people, other countries, other customs and cultures. Books help us to teach ourselves about history, the arts, science, religion, nature, mathematics, and technology –– anything and everything in our universe and beyond. Books also help us to understand the effect that all those things have on us and our world.

Books entertain and offer a great escape. They make us laugh and giggle. They make us cry.

Books — unlike many other entertainments –– are free for everyone. You can find the book you need, for free, at your neighborhood public library.

Books are great companions. You are never lonely when you have a book to read.

Books comfort us. Books help us understand that no matter who we are, or what our experiences may be, we are not alone in the world.

Books inspire us to dream.

Books give us the tools to achieve our dreams.