It is very satisfying to hear a well-known author speak on behalf of the importance of reading. You may think that he has a vested interest, and in some measure I suppose he has, in talking up reading but it is such an important part of all of our lives.
Michael Rosen is a children's author and poet who has written 140 books. He was Children's laureate 2007 -2009 and has also been a TV presenter and Socialist columnist.
Rosen has urged primary schools to make parents come and sit on the floor for a grown-up story time.
The former children's laureate said a "powerful magic" happens when parents read to children and allow them to interpret what they see and hear. Reading closely with children was just as important as phonics. Mr Rosen also urged ministers to say in public when they read a good book.
All great stuff and so necessary to maintain a level of understanding of the world and everyone in it. The internet is sometimes accused of destroying the enjoyment of reading but in fact to use it we have to be able to read. I know someone who is applying for work and the amount of reading and writing necessary to apply for jobs is legion.
Of course that kind of literary experience is the bread and butter of reading and writing. What Rosen and all of us, whether teachers, parents or writers, should be doing is stressing the enjoyment side of reading - it will prevent us being functioning clones of the Worldwide Web.
There is so much snobbery attached to who writes and how the works are published but I feel that there are no bad books just works that aren't produced well and perhaps ill-prepared. Stories are a source of entertainment and as such will appeal to someone, publishers should be matching works to consumers not playing the role of gatekeeper.
My hero was created post recession and so has no concept of how 'good' things were pre-2008. In 'I Have To Get It Right' when he began to flex his muscles he was working in an accountant's office. Then after the Gurentai took him under their wing and removed all of his financial worries, it was justice that was his major concern. He did become involved in international relations in 'The 51st State' but it was for the maintenance of a respectful distance between countries, rather than economic reasons. His trips into the USA had repercussions which can be read about in 'The Biter Bit' but then by the time things began to change in 2011 and the recession was really biting, Steele was trying to make sense of the state of the nation in 'A Changed Reality' and coming up against some really nasty people taking advantage of the shortage of money. By the time the USA are out of their recession Steele's steps are still being dogged by an unknown enemy from the same country. In 'Inceptus' we also find out more about what makes the man tick. The most recent Steele book 'Castled' Steele is once again at risk from unseen enemies. It would seem that he has become quite recession proof!
All books are available in paperback or ebook through Amazon, Smashwords and all good book shop websites.
This is a dystopian story that hinges directly on the state of the nation as a result of fiscal mismanagement. Having said that it is more a story of human relations, privations, love and loss.