More than Words - David Hill

The NZ Herald has published an article (available here) on 14 September 2019 titled 'More than Words' - On retirement: why one of NZ's top authors has written his last novel.

Extracts from the article follow:

David Hill has been a fulltime novelist for 30 years, writing some 35 books for children and teenagers. He's the 2019-20 President of Honour for the New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi o Aotearoa. He's also decided to retire. This is his resignation letter.

... Reading is one of the most valuable, transformative activities on the planet.

It's hard to think of a more worthwhile act than getting kids reading. Studies show children who read/are read to, develop brain synapses sooner and more enduringly. Their fine motor skills are better.

Reading grows intellectual and psychological resources, makes kids more at ease with themselves, brings realisations that hardly any other activity can. Good fiction, in particular, can show them the complexities that life throws up, the choices that may help people through.

Kids who read stay out of jail. How? Reading gives them words. Words give them the ability to express and clarify themselves to others. Many young males especially end up in strife because they don't have the vocab to explain what they're doing, so they lurch from incoherence to frustration to violence.

Reading isn't a solitary activity. Don't worry about your children "cutting themselves off" when they're deep in a book. Reading helps them make contact with the world, make sense of it and give it shape and coherence.

Reading or being read to takes kids deeper. It cuts through superficiality. The slow possession of a story transforms the reader/listener during and after makes him/her gentler, more at ease.

Posted: Wednesday 18 September 2019