The idea of Books with nutritional values for children occurred to me, since I have been for some years, perhaps the same years that I am a father, thinking about the relationship between culture and food.
Books with nutritional values for children: we are what we eat and we are what we read
It is recognized by all that food is also a cultural fact. But thinking a little the other way around, which is how I like to think the most, could we say that culture is a way of eating? To make this comparison I will take a single cultural element: the books.
Eat to Live-Read to Live
Food is commonly defined as the consumption of nutrients to provide our body with energy for the maintenance of vital functions. In short, food is what keeps us alive. But likewise I dare to think that books also provide our body with the energies to maintain our intellectual functions. Who can deny that after reading a book one feels more alive?
But what are nutrients? What is the name of that energy that we consume? In the case of food, they are classified into carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. But, in the case of books, what are these nutrients called? I think they are called ideas, which is the most elaborate of the forms of human thought, of its ability to reason, its creativity, self-reflection and its ability to receive and apply the intellect. So culture is another form of food, one that surely feeds us something as important as our body: it feeds us knowledge and spirit.
Eat to grow-Read to grow
Likewise, food is a fundamental element in the growth and development of children, even before birth. Good nutrition contributes to the development of tissues such as bone and muscle, fundamental processes in the growth of children. After a certain age, food does not contribute to the growth of our organs and tissues, as it does to their maintenance. Books, for their part, also contribute to essential processes of growth and intellectual development of children, even from the womb. But unlike food, books will always contribute to the spiritual and intellectual growth of readers. With books we never stop growing. There we find a wonderful aspect of reading: reading a book always makes us grow. Therefore, it is important to deliver books with nutritional values for children.
Books and Values: Our Immune System
The consolidation of an immune system from infancy is another fundamental contribution of nutrition. Nutrients help us to form tissues and white blood cells that protect us from disease. And what about the books? Will they help the formation of a type of immune system? Books have a high content of values, which could be the equivalent of an immune system that builds the foundations of our ethics and our conscience. It is undeniable that good books make us better people.
Read for pleasure
But food, in addition to all its nutritional contribution, gives us one of the greatest human pleasures. It is undeniable that the kitchen is one of the highest form of aesthetics and enjoyment that human beings have invented. Like books, which not only provide us with their cultural nutrients but also represent a real pleasure. Taking a book, be it a paper book or an electronic book, is to be before a work of art. Smelling the aroma of paper, caressing its textures, looking at the illustrations with amazement, and of course reading, represent one of the most enchanting pleasures of our civilization. Books with nutritional values for children
I personally consider that never before has humanity had such a wide and wonderful production of books designed for children. Today parents have a huge inventory of books to share with their children. Since Charles Perraut published in 1697 Les Contes de ma Mère l’Hey (The tales of mother goose) to this day, the most fantastic children's books have been published, such as The Tales of the Brothers Grimm, Robinson Crusoe (1719), by Daniel Defoe; Gulliver's Travels (1726), by Jonathan Swift; Alice in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There (1872), by Lewis Carroll; The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) by Mark Twain; The Island of the Treasure (1883), of Robert Louis Stevenson; The specialized Children's magazine The Golden Age (1889) by José Martí; The Little Prince (1943) by Antoine de Saint-Exúpery, and all the wonderful and prolific production of contemporary authors and illustrators.
But we must also recognize that just as there is non-nutritious food, and just as there are books with nutritional values for children, there are books that little nourish our spirit. And specifically I would like to refer to this phenomenon in the children's literature book. Attention parents and teachers: we must know that not all books have been conceived and written with the respect and care that the little ones demand. Just as sadly in supermarkets we find a great variety of poorly nutritious foods for children, bookstores, especially digital ones, are usually full of books that seem more well thought out to advertise a brand or a character from a movie or television show, than to tell a good story and contribute to the education and growth of our children.
The invasion of non-nutritive books
These books are forming a true invasion of content without content, branding disguised as literature. These books mostly lack literary and illustrative quality. Most of them are terrible adaptations of classics like "Goldilocks and the three bears". Generally, these productions mediocrely adapt these classics to make them a lighter reading, violating the style of the original work. The illustrations are not done with care or creativity, but they seem to be an overly obvious representation of the text. These books are plagued with alleged interactions, animations and noises that hinder a true reading and make you lose sense of how central reading is. It seems as if they are trying to compensate for the lack of graphic and literary quality with a disturbing effect. On the other hand, these books are generally flooded with advertisements for video games and other products, which hinder their proper reading.
Parents and teachers must be attentive to this type of content, both nutritional and literary, because we are what we eat and we are what we read. Let's take more time before buying or downloading these types of books, read reviews, deepen the knowledge of the author in order to filter and arrive at better and endearing books with nutritional values for children.