Cassandra Connolly-Brown: Trick or Read!
In the modern tradition – I know that’s a bit of an oxymoron – Hallowe'en is about dressing up as a scary monster or your favourite superhero, grabbing a pumpkin-shaped pail or the biggest bag you can find, and knocking on neighbours’ doors in the hopes of bringing home lots of candy. Well, if you’re a child anyway. That kind of behaviour is frowned upon once you ‘grow up.’ Why not try something different this year and give someone a scary book. (Of course this doesn’t preclude you from giving candy as well. You may be facing an angry mob of children if you do that.)
All Hallow’s Read is the brainchild of beloved adult and children’s author Neil Gaiman. On the website set up to promote the project he stands in a graveyard, delivering an impassioned plea, while zombies shuffle around behind him, looking for victims. Give a book to children or adults, he says. Give one book or many books, inspire young or old readers or just give them a pleasant chill. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. The books can come from a used book store or even from your own shelf. Need help with suggestions? Talk to your local librarian or check out this year’s shortlist for the Scottish Children’s Book Awards. Have fun with it and help start a wonderful new tradition.
How to get children to accept a book when their eyes are firmly on the sugary prize? Here is Neil's advice....
'We recommend looking the child in the eye and saying, “Take it. Read it. Trust me… around here… a book can be… safer than candy.” Then chuckling to yourself, as if remembering something unfortunate that happened to some of the local children only last year.)'