As we stride into Children’s Book Week, it seems appropriate that Ransom’s main focus is on the first stepping stone of a child’s journey into reading. Our latest project is Lilac books, the bottom rung on the book-banded ladder.
I struggle to remember my own introduction into the world of books, it seems so long ago, but they have always been a part of my home environment and I owe a lot to my family for telling me that not reading was never an option. These early experiences are more important than we can imagine, as they can spark a child’s love of books before they’ve even read a single word.
Enter Lilac. These books are entirely without words, but are crucial in helping children learn to read, through understanding both the physical book and the concept of storytelling. The Lilac books that Ransom has been focusing on in recent weeks are surprisingly not those that have been formally banded, but are books that are considered ‘real’ and are not part of a controlled reading scheme. Our editor has been banding these books as Lilac using the formal guidelines, (a big giveaway being that there’s not a drop of text anywhere in a sea of illustrations) and everyone in the Ransom office has been blown away by what can be said by using no words at all.
While you might think an author might sit with their head in their hands at the thought of a word count of 0, it seems that this is when the most creativity happens, and rightly so: a child’s early experiences of ‘reading’ should be captivating and exciting, otherwise they won’t see it as fun, but rather a task to be endured. Even for an adult, these children’s books are engaging and can be surprisingly moving, and again, can make helping a child learn to read that much more appealing.
In our ongoing aim to inspire reluctant readers to become, well, less reluctant, we believe that the earlier a love of books begins, the easier it is to continue, and we can’t wait to develop our own Lilac books to start kids off in the right direction.
So, some final thoughts for the remainder of Children’s Book Week 2017: we can’t afford to overlook the importance of these earliest books, and as adults we cannot underestimate the pure power of children’s books.
Image: from Float by Daniel Miyares, published by Simon and Schuster