Written by Sahana Charan and published on 05 May 2021.
Encouraging children to read science fiction will boost their creativity, and make them imaginative and curious. Here's how you can get them to dive into the world of spaceships and robots
Children and teenagers are often discouraged from reading science fiction (SF) stories because parents assume that they will not understand the complicated themes discussed in these. Parents also feel that science fiction is not suitable for younger kids as the stories may be too serious or dark.
But that is not necessarily the truth. According to SF enthusiasts and writers, this kind of writing opens kid's minds to new things, increases their curiosity, makes them imaginative and encourages them to ask questions. They also develop problem-solving skills through this genre.
Here, we give you useful tips on how children can be encouraged to read science fiction. Dr M H Srinarahari, General Secretary, Indian Association for Science Fiction Studies and a science fiction writer himself, gives us insights on what SF writing is all about and why children should read it.
Parents often say that they want their children to be creative. SF is one of the most interesting ways of boosting children's creativity. It also prepares them for future shocks and gives them a sense of the positive side of what lies ahead, he says.
According to Dr Srinarahari, historical novels deal with the past, contemporary novels and fiction deal with the present. Science fiction deals with the future. The time range in which these books are set may extend from a few years from now to many centuries. SF stories are based on certain concepts and theories in science and technology, usually in an era which has not happened yet. These stories may deal with Darwin's theory of Evolution or about an intelligent humanoid robot. The themes are unlimited.
Science fiction, in simple terms, is the study of impact of science and technology on the society. It is based on the premise that change is the only permanent thing. And this change may be good or bad, he adds.
Once your child is ready, these are some of the authors she can read:
Arthur C Clarke, Arun Manday, Arvind Mishra, H G Wells, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Jules Verne, James Tiptree Junior, Mary Shelley, Ursula Le Guin and many others.
Some science fiction books for children:
The Time Machine by H G Wells
The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet
The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
Whales on Stilts by M T Anderson