The Importance of Reading Interesting Books and Young Readers


On Sunday morning, I read a powerful article by one of my heroes, Dr. Jane Goodall. I was very fortunate to visit her center in Kenya, East Africa several years ago as a Fulbright Scholar. I was able to meet the scientist and researchers who work with her and witness their dedication to animals and our environment.

In this article, she speaks directly to children and the importance of reading books. Please read this with your child/children and borrow books about her work from the neighborhood East Boston Library, or purchase from an online bookstore. These titles include The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life With the Chimps; The Chimpanzee Lady, Jane Goodall; and Jane Goodall: Champion For Chimpanzees.



Dear Children,

I want to share something with you — and that is how much I loved books when I was your age. Of course, back then there was no Internet, no television — we learned everything from printed books. We didn’t have much money when I was a child and I couldn’t afford new books, so most of what I read came from our library. But I also used to spend hours in a very small second hand book shop. The owner was an old man who never had time to arrange his books properly. They were piled everywhere and I would sit there, surrounded by all that information about everything imaginable. I would save up any money I got for my birthday or doing odd jobs so that I could buy one of those books. Of course, you can look up everything on the Internet now. But there is something very special about a book — the feel of it in your hands and the way it looks on the table by your bed, or nestled in with others in the bookcase.

I loved to read in bed, and after I had to put the lights out I would read under the bedclothes with a torch, always hoping my mother would not come in and find out! I used to read curled up in front of the fire on a cold winter evening. And in the summer I would take my special books up my favorite tree in the garden. My Beech Tree. Up there I read stories of faraway places and I imagined I was there. I especially loved reading about Doctor Doolittle and how he learned to talk to animals. And I read about Tarzan of the Apes. And the more I read, the more I wanted to read.

I was ten years old when I decided I would go to Africa when I grew up to live with animals and write books about them. And that is what I did, eventually. I lived with chimpanzees in Africa and I am still writing books about them and other animals. In fact, I love writing books as much as reading them — I hope you will enjoy reading some of the ones that I have written for you.

~ Jane Goodall



I’ve provided links to three additional children’s books entitled I Am Jane Goodall, A Velocity of Being: Letters to a Young Reader and Me…Jane. If you are personally interested in reading more about Jane Goodall, I have also included below some readings from Dr. Goodall herself.



Happy reading!

~ Alicia C.

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