Enid Blyton, C.S. Lewis, Dr. Seuss and Roald Dahl – these are just some of the artists moulding youthful minds with genius, finesse and sensational whimsy; the wordsmiths that teach us those crucial life lessons, and show us the power of human imagination through language and limitless creativity.

Imagine a childhood without them…

In fact, growing up in a house where children do not have access to a diverse range of books can have a detrimental effect on their academic attainment. A study conducted by the University of Nevada in 2014 found that generally, the more books children have access to at home, the better they do in school. This was found to be the case across gender, class and also nationality.

Children from the poorest families tend to have access to the fewest books, but also benefit the most per additional book given to them at home. Researchers found that the books didn’t even have to be specific to a child audience – even kids who grew up in a home where the shelves were stacked with reams of their parents’ books still experienced a significant academic advantage.

“Regardless of how many books the family already has, each addition to the home library helps children do better” in school, the study notes. “Each additional book has a greater impact on the performance of someone who had only a small home library than it does on the performance of someone from a home overflowing with books.”

But there are currently 16 million children in the USA who don’t have access to new, high-quality books. Only one in three children has access to books in their home, amounting to 10 million children who do not have a book to call their own.

This is something the Obama’s are about to change…

In a new programme that seeks to make books available to all US children in need, more than US$250 million worth of e-books are to be made accessible entirely free of charge.

“For so many of us, books opened our minds to a world of possibility,” said Michelle Obama in her Open e-Books address from the White House. “Thanks to Open e-Books, thousands of popular and award-winning titles are now available free of charge to young people who need them.”

And these aren’t just any books either – a host of the world’s most prolific publishers have signed up to the programme, making thousands of high-quality books, hand-picked by the Digital Public Library of America’s Curation Corps, available online.

The app is similar to current e-reader apps like Amazon Kindle and iBooks, the main difference being that the titles are aimed at a K-12 audience and are entirely free to borrow!

Access to the digital library will be provided by the child’s school, local library, after-school programme and any other scheme aimed at children in need. Soon enough – thanks to Obama – every child in America will have access to an expansive digital library right in the palm of their hands.

Image via The White House/Youtube.

Liked this? Then you’ll love these…

Total US student debt owed doubles throughout Obama administration

Michelle Obama and MC Flotus think you should “Go to College…Fill your head with knowledge”