Malorie Blackman: ‘I love gadgets, but e-reading has to be carefully handled’

Author and Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman is enthusiastic about the potential for children to read books digitally, but thinks the publishing industry should “proceed with caution” to ensure key benefit of reading aren’t lost.

“I love my gadgets – I used to be a programmer! – but I think we’re always going to need stories,” said Blackman, during an appearance at the Children’s Media Conference in Sheffield.

“Maybe the delivery mechanism will change: in 10 years time or maybe even less, most children and teenagers will be reading more electronic books than otherwise. But I think we have to proceed with caution.”

Blackman cited the importance of “reading with meaning” – children not just reading a story, but understanding it – and questioned whether some book-apps with “all the bells and whistles” further that aim, if children are distracted from the story itself.

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