Continuing our Kiwi theme, today Books and Adventures is joined by New Zealand author and editor Raymond Huber with a guest post on ‘The Physics of Reading’. A skier, teacher, apiculturist and all-round adventurer, Raymond is currently in Australia promoting his novel for junior readers, Wings.
‘The universe is made of stories, not atoms’ (Muriel Rukeyser). There’s truth in the poet’s words: the universe is only 4% atoms while the rest (mysterious dark stuff) has barely been fathomed. Some scientists believe the universe is geared towards the development of mind – ‘The universe is aboutsomething’ (Paul Davies, physicist) . That’s why I think stories matter.
Consider the mental energy of reading for children. ‘When reading takes place, the brain is forever changed’ (Maryanne Wolf). Reading forges new neural pathways which then become available for innovative thinking. One reason for this is that reading a book encourages the brain to be active in constructing and imagining the story. Imagination is like the electromagnetic force which has infinite range. It’s the force behind the great children’s books. In the Moomin stories for example, Tove Jansson imagines a fantasy world populated with endearing creatures such as brave Moomintroll and the shocking Hattifatteners.