Children’s Day serves as an opportunity to communicate through books

It was the second Children’s Day amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Hopefully, both parents and children set some time to get familiar with books this year.

On Children’s Day last year, a state of emergency was declared nationwide following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. This year, a third state of emergency has been declared in some parts of the country, and there is no sign of the coronavirus pandemic being brought under control.

There may be many families who planned to visit resort areas during the Golden Week holidays but refrained from traveling to destinations far from home. Instead, they can enjoy reading books at home. Children’s Day can be a memorable occasion, providing an opportunity for parents and children to communicate through books.

Various kinds of books in any fields are useful, such as novels, essays, biographies and picture books. In addition to books at bookstores or libraries, even works in school textbooks can serve a purpose.

By reading books, children can delve into the minds of characters and learn that many kinds of values exist, including those similar to their own or those that differ. Readers could be expected to develop a rich sense of humanity by feeling the magnificence of consideration for others and mutual support.

There are also books that may give parents and children an opportunity to discuss social issues.

Soichiro Yamasaki’s “Kodomo Roppo” (Six laws for children) explains provisions of the Constitution, the Penal Code and the Juvenile Law with easy-to-understand pictures and in simple words, on the assumption of children who are being bullied or suffering other forms of abuse.

In the book, with an illustration of an animal using a smartphone, it asks, “Didn’t you casually send a message telling someone they should die?” The book mentions another person’s involvement into encouraging or assisting suicide in the Penal Code and urges young readers to be disciplined.

The author, who was bullied when he was a child, reportedly wrote the book to let children know that they can protect themselves if they have knowledge of basic laws.

Perikansha Publishing Inc.’s series “Naruniwa Books” (How to become a …) features details about various professions and how to enter them. More than 150 books have been published in the series.

Some children will have become interested in careers after seeing their parents working at home due to the implementation of telecommuting amid the coronavirus crisis. Using books to introduce jobs and convey the hardships and joy of work may deepen children’s thinking about their future careers.

In some areas, libraries are closed as part of coronavirus countermeasures. In such cases, parents can talk to their children about the favorite books they read when they were young. Children must feel as if they have learned something about their parents that they did not know before when they listen to their parents talking about the appeal of books.

Many parents might be busy even during the Golden Week holidays, and many children are not able to read books in a relaxed environment. There are also serious problems such as poverty and abuse. It is important for society as a whole to keep a close eye on the healthy development of children through cooperation among the central and local governments, nonprofit organizations and other entities.

— The original Japanese article appeared in The Yomiuri Shimbun on May 5, 2021.