Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Friday 3 March 2023

A Story Shared

Having just had a birthday and received a book (or two ;-) as part of the celebration, I can relate to Emma’s post this week. The choosing of the book gift says as much about the giver as it does about the recipient - serendipity in action!

Connection comes from strong relationships and shared experiences. And what better shared experience than a story? I’ve been wondering lately about stories and about books, and specifically about what it is about stories that draws in different individuals, in different ways. I’ve written here before about how much I love going to my local bookstore in the lead up to Christmas. It’s my favourite bit about that crazy time of year, the choosing of the books. I get a similar buzz when birthdays are drawing near, choosing the ‘right book’ is something of a ritual. Matching the book to the reader, somehow testing your knowledge of the recipient. It’s something of a challenge - how well do you know their interests, their reading preferences and levels, even their beliefs and values to a degree? It really does help to know your reader well, in order to match them to the perfect story. And when you give that gift of a story, you are sending such a powerful message to the recipient. You’re saying: I know you. I care about you. I’ve thought about you. And, I hope that this story works for you.

Creative Commons Zero - CC0 Source: Hippopx

But what about a shared story experience? Recommending a story that you personally really enjoyed? That’s taking that concept to the next level. Then you’re saying: I know you. I care about you. I’ve thought about you. And…. I trust you with this story. 

George Hodan, Flower and Book @ PublicDomainPictures

I’ve gone through the Christmas and birthday gifting process for years now, painstakingly choosing books for family and friends. Identifying and predicting their respective reading preferences along the way. Carefully considering their different personalities to match to the stories. Probably inadvertently shaping my own children as readers, to a degree. But more recently, as they shift from Young Adult Fiction, into Adult Fiction, I’m considering my own stories with a different lens: would they enjoy this storyline too? Is this an opportunity for a shared experience? Are the themes too adult? Is the content accessible? It seems that as a family, we’ve reached a stage now where some of our preferences are re-aligning after something of a transitionary period! We once again enjoy some of the same stories, be it a novel, an audio book, a podcast, a movie.  Although, judging by the most highly featured genres, on the respective bedside tables (the universal holding zone for books to be read), the opportunities for shared book experiences may be somewhat limited…but I’ll definitely be making the most of the ones that are there!

Happy reading everyone. Because a story enjoyed, is a story worth sharing.

Emma Nuttall

Teacher, Avid Reader and Parent of readers

1 comment:

  1. There is something special about sharing a reading experience with loved ones...that must be enhanced (and maybe a bit scary) if that experience is something you have authored.