The Rights of the Reader
Free download of this poster (in PDF format) available here.
Daniel Pennac’s manifesto in the book The Rights of the Reader (translated from French by Sarah Adams) is spot on! The accompanying illustrations by Quentin Blake are quirky and entertaining. This book is sure to draw in even the most reluctant reader with its opening line “You can’t make someone read. Just as you can’t make them fall in love, or dream …”
The Guardian features a superb review of the book -
“Daniel Pennac has written several bestselling novels for both children and adults. This short non-fiction book, originally published in French in 1992 and now translated into English for the second time, has sold a million copies in France. It’s a wonderfully economical and witty exploration of why we read and why we don’t, divided into four sections.
First, Pennac describes how young children are introduced to the pleasures of reading. Then he examines how they’re put off. Reading becomes a dreary chore. It’s good for you. Like bran flakes or jogging. Why would anyone want to do that? Third, presumably drawing on his own experiences as a teacher, he describes how a class of surly teenagers rediscover the joys of reading. In the first class of a new term, their teacher opens a book and reads aloud to them. The teenagers are initially scornful, then gradually seduced and finally even inspired not just to finish the book that their teacher had begun for them, but to explore more and more books (as long as they’re not on the syllabus). Pennac finishes with a 10-point manifesto: the 10 rights that should be granted to all readers. The first is “the right not to read”. The second is “the right to skip”. The other eight are equally wise and liberating.”
“For teachers and parents, he has all kinds of sensible suggestions for coaxing reluctant readers back into the pages of a book, but he never makes prescriptions or demands. He knows that life is short and we are all, adults and children, much too busy already. “Time to read is always time stolen. (Like time to write, for that matter, or time to love.)” But “by making time to read, like making time to love, we expand our time for living.” And who could be too busy for that?”