Like a plant needs sunlight, a child needs books to grow. Everywhere in the world, books inspire and enlighten children. Books are an important part of supporting Sustainable Development Goals because they open young girls minds to new thinking and new opportunities to contribute to our world. Children’s books help educate young kids and give them what they need to grow into amazing people to lead future generations; but over 265 million kids all over the world don’t have access to books.

A research study at New York University proved that 6-month old babies who are read to by their parents, on average, achieve more academically than other kids. The same study shows that kids who grow up in houses with at least 500 books are 20 times more likely to graduate college. The results are clear, the more you read, the more you become an empathetic and connected member of society.  

Not only does reading develop young brains, it keeps older brains younger.  Avni Bavishi, a health professional said, “Reading, by engaging the brain, may keep the brain active enough to prevent cognitive decline that is associated with a variety of diseases associated with earlier mortality,”. In 1992, the University of Michigan started to survey their elderly patients,  “How many hours did you read last week?” This question was answered by thousands of patients for over 12 years. Now, The Yale School of Public Health analyzed all of the old responses, data, and results to see how much books affect your life. They found that people who read books consistently were living about two years longer than the people who would only read the morning newspaper.

Reading is critical because it  improves your health, vocabulary, knowledge, sleep, empathy, thinking, and social awareness. Six out of every ten people are lacking basic literacy skills; and in some less-developed countries, 1 in every 4 girls are not in school. Change is needed, and books and literacy skills are a key solution to the global goal #4: Quality education.

Now, some people are taking on a challenge to read 50 books a year; Stephanie Huston (a writer and world traveler) was two months into this challenge of substituting electronics for books when she reported of having better sleep, peace, and had learned a ton. Children’s books educate kids with 50% more words than prime time TV and give them the chances in learning that they need, only further proving how much more educational a simple paper book can be then television.

This is why on April 2nd, everywhere in the world, we celebrate the International day of children’s books. So pick up a good book today, read for yourself and others, or donate a book to kids in need. Reading is so important to help shape kids’ opinions, perspectives, and ultimately the choices they make that will impact our world.

“Stories allow us to feel connected with others and part of something bigger than ourselves.”

-Professor Melanie Green

Olivia Cohn is an eleven year old from Westport Connecticut. She is the 2018 winner of the National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Exposition, she also won the I SEE HER INVENT award from CA Technologies.

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