'Year of Reading' Guest Blog by Nick Stead

One of the first presents I ever bought my nephew was a noisy picture book about dinosaurs. Why? Because dinosaurs are awesome and I knew it would drive my sister crazy. But more than that, I bought it for him because I believe reading to your kids is one of the best and most important experiences you can share with them. Let me explain.

If it hadn’t been for my mum’s love of stories, I don’t think I’d have gone on to write my own books or achieve so highly at school. Mum taught me to read while I was still at nursery which meant my language skills were already well on their way when I started in reception. English has always been my best subject, and these are skills which have served me well over the years not just as an author, but in the various other jobs I’ve done to make ends meet and also in day to day life. I would not be where I am today without all the books I grew up with.

Reading has also given me a vivid imagination and creativity I don’t think I’d have developed otherwise – another skill I’ve been able to use in more than just my writing. I believe it’s taught me to think for myself and look beyond the surface. We all need to be able to problem-solve to get through life and I think it’s through reading so much as a kid that I became so good at formulating my own ideas and coming up with solutions others might not have thought of.

And finally, to me, there is no better escapism than in the pages of a good book. I’m sorry to say I was the victim of bullying at school, but it was my love of stories that got me through it. When real life got me down I would retreat into the realms of my imagination where literally anything was possible. And as enjoyable as modern technology in storytelling has become through films and other media, it just doesn’t compare to the effect a good book has on feeding that imagination. I could picture myself as the hero fighting his battles or the kid who finds out he’s really a wizard. Can a film do that? I don’t think so, not like a book can. In a film the character has the face of the actor. In a book, they have whatever face you choose to give them, with a little help from the author of course.

So next time you want to share some quality time with your child, introduce them to a good book. They will thank you for it in the years to come, trust me!

About the author:

Nick Stead

Nick Stead is best known for his Hybrid series, a supernatural horror about a teenage werewolf currently spanning three books, with the fourth soon to follow! He has also written several short stories within the horror and dark fantasy genres and has had work featured in anthologies, as well as a short story arc in Bryn Hammond’s The Complete History of the Howling.

Nick lives with his two cats in Huddersfield, England, where he spends most days chained to his desk, writing to the scream of heavy metal guitars. When he does get out, he has been known to terrorise local libraries and give talks in schools, as well as making appearances at various horror and comic conventions across the country. He is just putting the finishing touches on his first non-Hybrid book, a horror based on the infamous Pendle witch trials of 1612, and has already begun work on his sixth novel – a new project which has yet to be revealed! 





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