MP - Children need magic of books

BOOKS are wonderful things.

I’ve always enjoyed reading from the youngest age, finding it incredibly stimulating that a book can take you anywhere, from the past to the future, and can make you think about something that you may not have thought of before.

I’ve always been very fortunate in that my parents valued reading and the importance of books.

I vividly remember as a child having lots of Ladybird books in our house.

Nowadays, my wife complains about how books seem to clutter our entire house.

I’ve always been keen to ensure that my children have access to books.

Reading with your children can be one of life’s pleasures, although the interest and curiosity it can often spark in my youngest son Billy means that he asks questions incessantly, for far longer than you bargained for.

Having access to books and sharing books with your child is very important, which is why Bookstart is a welcome thing.

Hartlepool has always played a large role in National Bookstart Week and on Friday last week I had a great time with children from Stranton and Lynnfield Primary Schools at the Central Library where I enjoyed the activities and stories and was able to give free books for the children, courtesy of Bookstart.

I was pleased with the model train I was able to colour in, but was frankly disappointed with my efforts with sticking paper on a picture of an aeroplane. It’s odd what MPs sometimes have to do and I know now that I could never get a job with Boeing or Airbus.

It is disappointing that the funding for such a worthwhile scheme, which will hopefully reap rewards for this country for years to come, has been cut in half by the Government, with the prospect of the scheme being cut altogether in two years’ time.

I hope that this means that Hartlepool children will continue to receive some beautiful books, but such a drastic cut will inevitably mean that some areas, and some children, will miss out.

On a similar theme, I was able to attend an event to celebrate Father’s Day in Westminster this week, where Ladybird Books donated to me a beautiful pack of children’s books, which I would like to donate to Hartlepool libraries.

I would really like to promote the idea of dads reading with their kids, and this was a great way of doing this. A love of reading is something that can stay with you for the rest of your life, and this love should start as early as possible.

The Headland was the talk of the twitter world last week – not the social messaging site but birdwatchers. The white throated robin was apparently on the bowling green when it should normally be resident in Asia.

I’m afraid I wouldn’t have a clue when it comes to identifying birds.

The white throated robin could have been a small seagull as far as I could see.

But the story put Hartlepool on the map in a positive way and the reaction of some Hartlepudlians made me smile.

Apparently a roaring trade was made in the hiring out of ladders or even allowing people who had flocked to see the bird to stand on residents’ cars.

With quick-witted entrepreneurial flair and skill like that, I’m confident that Hartlepool will be the enterprise and business start-up capital of the country soon.

I also heard a young woman on the radio selling teas and coffees, but confessing that if people didn’t have the money she would give them the drinks anyway because they’d been awake for a long time.

She gave all the money she made to charity. Not only do we Hartlepudlians seem to be an enterprising lot, we also seem to be a bit generous too.