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Too Busy To Read

A little boy hiding behind a big book

Hello! After six months away on maternity leave, I am back in the office like a real person.

And I feel a little daunted by everything. There are books we’ve bought that I have no idea about, emails I’ve been neglecting and new people to get to know.

At home, with my 5.5 month old still breastfeeding, my 4.5 year old just starting school there are piles of household paperwork and laundry everywhere. And I do have a hefty commute from Buckinghamshire.

I also write a monthly column for SCBWI’s Words and Pictures, am judging Undiscovered Voices, am preparing for a middle grade master class in October and other side projects.

So… I am busy. Ok, beyond busy. I am pretty exhausted. BUT there is NO FORCE on this planet that would stop me reading to my children.

Just as I was gearing up to come back to the best job in the world, two articles were aired in the press: one about how children who read often performed demonstrably better as older children and another about how a third of parents never read to their children at night.

13% of those parents not reading say that they are too busy. Too busy!?

I need to understand what this too busy is. How can it be?

I would rather dishes go mouldy, wear a dirty shirt, let the neighbours grumble about the state of my garden. I would rather miss that TV programme or eat a sandwich for dinner.

I am a bit of a workaholic, but I will still put work on hold for that 15 minutes of sharing a story with my son. Besides which, it’s fun. My favourite local bookshop has an entire wall of fantastic fun books, that are just as entertaining for me as they are for my son.

Help me out… besides the occasional exceptional circumstance, what could legitimately keep someone so busy to not have 15 minutes to invest in the future of their child?