A message from my local library in Lagos tells me that 2nd April is International Children’s Book Day, although last week my facebook page was full of the happy faces of small relations in the UK dressed in a variety of colourful costumes – I’m not sure why the two countries have different dates! But I also had comments from harassed mums frantically searching Sainsbury’s for costumes the evening before. It looked fun, but I hope this doesn’t mean that children whose parents haven’t got the money or maybe the the interest to produce these wonderful outfits, aren’t missing out. I have sympathy with children who struggle to learn to read – I was always in the bottom group for reading in my infant school. In those days, parents weren’t expected to help their children, and libraries wouldn’t lend books until you had learned to read! We didn’t have much money, but my mother bought books and helped me to learn. More important, she inspired me by telling me the stories of the classic books she had read at school.It certainly worked – I still have my first copy of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ – I had it for Christmas when I was nine! A good illustration of the importance of ‘reading readiness’, rather than forcing children to read too early.