Chad Brealey: The Wild And The Innocent


Slow Down and Smell the Fonts

From A.A. Milne to Oliver Jeffers—it's time to tell some stories

Our kids are the first generation to grow up entirely with computers as part of their everyday lives. I recall programming a rocket ship to ascend the monitor of our classroom Apple IIe in grade 5 but that hardly qualifies me to have been plugged-in from the source. My toddler instantly understood the interface of the iPad and iPhone (the Blackberry still confounds him…) and he will never comprehend the simplicity of the single function rotary phone or the tropical bird inspired tones of a dial-up modem attempting to connect. He is digital and he will be wired. It is naïve to think otherwise.

He also adores books. We often glance towards an oddly quiet bedroom to see him lying on his bed or on the floor with a selection of books. He can’t read. He’s not yet three. But he can be amazed. He can be amazed with cameras in our phones, and the ability to hear any song he wants at any time through Rdio just as he is amazed at his own emotions every night as we read stories before bed. In the end, like every three year old, he is attached to the message of the words, not the delivery method.

I owe my love of words to my parents and I have strong memories of reading great books with them as I grew up. My memory swells at the thought of A.A Milne’s House at Pooh Corner, Dennis Lee’s Alligator Pie and Roald Dahl’s Danny, The Champion of the World. We don’t need to lament our children’s supposed loss of these treasures but we do have to take on the challenge of understanding their ways of collecting the worlds and emotions we encountered through printed pages.

The swell folks at have created a fantastic resource for parents to find outstanding Canadian books for kids of every age and interest.

Head over to 49th Shelf for wonderful lists of books available in traditional printed book form or downloadable to whatever device your child operates better than you.