Interesting story from Zak Ebrahim, the son of a terrorist, about his rejection of violence and his determination not to be his father’s son. Resonates closely with the character development of Ali in BLOOD & INK.
Particularly poignant was Zak’s mother’s reaction to his change of heart:
She looked at me with the weary eyes of someone who had experienced enough dogmatism to last a lifetime, and said, ‘I’m tired of hating people.’ In that instant I realized how much negative energy it takes to hold that hatred inside of you.
He wanted to discover whether reading fiction affects the economic preferences of individuals. By ‘economic preferences’ he means trust, contribution to public good, risk-taking and patience.
The resulting research paper makes for fascinating reading. It concludes:
Much as advocates of reading fiction would like to believe that reading transforms lives, deepens empathy, and develops better intuitions about the interior lives of others, the reality is more likely to be that effects are small or short-lived.
Or, as he phrases it in the video:
Reading makes better readers but not necessarily better humans.
As an author of books for young adults, it would be lovely to think that my ilk are saving the world. And no doubt Michael, as a champion of African village libraries, would have been pleased if his research had uncovered a clear link between reading and development. Alas, this is not the case. Reading provides relaxation, enjoyment and solace, but that’s pretty much all.
Before I left Burkina Faso last year, I filmed several short sketches with the ‘Laawol Dartingol’ drama group. The sketches explore different issues in Fulani society. In this one, Inna Moumouni’s money has gone missing, and she suspects her husband of stealing it. I miss these people, they were such fun to work with!
I drew the monster. But the content of the story and the human figures are all Libby’s. She is three years old and she likes picture books – especially Angelina Ballerina, the Worst Princess, and Charlie and Lola.