So this is a post expressing how concerned I am about reading and books in Indonesia, especially among children.
I have an 8 year old sister and she loves reading. She likes spending time at her school library after school. She asks for a new book every weekend so my parents take her to a nearby bookstore every weekend to get her a new book. This is different from what I had when I was her age. When I was 8 years old my family still lived in Troy, New York. My father would take us to the public library every weekend. I always looked forward to that moment. I would spend hours at the children books section searching for interesting books, it could be a Babysitter’s Club book, an American Girl book, an encyclopedia, basically anything that caught my eye. After my hunt, I would go to my dad with a high pile of books waiting to be borrowed. I LOVED READING, AND I STILL DO. Roald Dahl, Dr. Seuss, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Meg Cabot, E.B. White, and Harper Lee filled my childhood with rich stories. Reading takes me to places, makes me think about life, people, and memories and it lets me explore using my imagination. This may sound cliche. Reading gives a special sensation different from watching movies or watching TV. Scholastic excited me unlike now maybe it’s Zara or Apple that excites girls.
I wish my little sister could have the same luxury I had when I was a kid…going to a great library and borrowing great books for free is awesome! I mean it’s cool that she can buy books now but it’s pitiful that the book collection in a particular famous national bookstore isn’t so great. The children’s section basically consists of comic books, school books, toddler books, and a tiny section of children books. Children chapter books are so limited. I don’t know what the problem is. Does Indonesia lack children book authors? The quality of the books aren’t so great either. The paper, the printing, and the material for the cover aren’t as good as international books. International bookstores have a better collection but buying books every weekend isn’t good for my daddy’s wallet.
I can’t imagine kids that live in less urban areas. I can’t imagine how poor their access is to excellent books. I can’t imagine how their school libraries are. Can they enjoy the wonders of the world and the vast thinking of the world’s brilliant authors through great books? That’s why I have a lifelong dream to build libraries and donate books in areas that need them. I believe the love of reading can lead to many positive things such as intellectual performance and a better attitude towards life. I spent most of my childhood abroad and I remember clearly how school emphasized the importance of reading. Library visits, book report assignments, daily book reading (Each student had the daily task to read anything, a book or news paper but not a magazine, for 15-30 minutes. The title of the book, the author, and the pages read were written on a piece of paper. A parent had to sign that paper and every day the teacher would check that paper and made sure each kid did their reading job.), and book fairs. Book fairs from big publishing companies were frequently held. I absolutely looked forward to them and I would bring my saved money to get a really good book. I remember bringing 7 dollars to school and I got myself a paperback colored encyclopedia. I remember how happy I was when I got the book and I spent so many hours reading and rereading the fascinating information and funny little pictures.
I mean it’s too bad that Indonesian education does not emphasize on the importance of reading. It seems that they emphasize more on skills like mathematical skills and science/social studies. I wish Indonesian education could take a step forward on providing better libraries. I’m very proud of my high school, Santa Ursula for its awesome library. Too bad libraries like that can only happen in expensive private schools.