On September 3rd, after a 15-month battle with brain cancer, best-selling author Anna Dewdney passed away at age 50. Anna authored the popular children’s “Llama Llama” book series, and was a passionate believer in the power of literature. Not only did Anna devote her life to children and to literature, Anna is continuing to inspire others to continue reading to children with this dying request: Read to a child.
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“I’ve spent quite a bit of time with children,” wrote Anna in a piece for the Wall Street Journal in 2013, “and I have come to believe that the one key element to a successful, functional child in a classroom or social setting is that the ability of that child to understand other children and adults– in other words, empathy.”
Anna worked as an author, teacher and daycare provider at different points in her life, in addition to being a mom. In that time, she not only observed the importance of empathy for a child, she came to recognize that the best way to teach your child to be empathetic is to read to them.
When we read with a child, we are doing so much more than teaching him to read or instilling in her a love of language. We are doing something that I believe is just as powerful, and it is something that we are losing as a culture: by reading with a child, we are teaching that child to be human. When we open a book, and share our voice and imagination with a child, that child learns to see the world through someone else’s eyes.
In fact, Anna felt so strongly about the power of reading with your children that her obituary urges people to continue doing just that. It details her successes as an author and includes beautiful words from her publisher, but it’s the final words in the obituary that really strike a chord: “[Anna] requested that in lieu of a funeral service that people read to a child instead.”
Let’s spread the word.
Share Anna’s final message today.
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