I don't like to talk about myself, but it seems I have to do it this time around if only to help make my point. I was born in 1962. I was five years when the Nigerian civil war began. Being Igbo I had to be on the run. Three most important years of my life lost to mindlessness, on the one hand and inhumanity on the other. It takes two mad people to fight, doesn't it? I began to learn ABCD at the ripe age of 9. It could have been 10 given that I had to recover from the unmentionable hangover from that war. Ever since then I've been playing catch up. Anyway, I somehow discovered the mystery of written words. I began to read and to read and to read. I know what Ikhide means when he declares that it is child abuse not to have children read. I'll steal this idea. It's better than what I told my students sometime last week: If you want to write what is to be read you have to read what has been written. Nuff said.
Anyway, here's Ikhide's warning against child abuse.
"Today, there are homes that house no books. Unfortunately, there are children in those homes. That is child abuse. A child should be immersed in all sorts of books. I know, I know, I have said that the book is dying a long slow death. A house should be slaphappy with books and ideas. Look at it another way: This is a great time to buy books because no one wants them anyway. Buy them and leave them lying around the house. A child may just read them."