Cara Barnard

TBS Next Gen: At 11, Reading Is Already My Life—and Will Continue to Be

As part of The Big Smoke’s Next Gen program, Cara Barnard (age 11) extols the benefit of reading, especially in a mostly electronic world.


StudentCara Barnard
MentorLeigh McGaghey
Topic: Reading in the modern age still holds the same magic.


I have always loved reading. Ever since I was a few months old, books have fascinated and encouraged my imagination, they have taken me to new and unfamiliar worlds and places. My parents have always supported my love of reading at home. The first word I could read was “up” and I learned it by the age of two. Once you are interested, reading is one of the best things to do. If it is non-fiction, it can teach you things that have happened or are happening. If it is fiction, you can learn new words, new mythical creatures, and so much more!

I prefer reading fiction. My imagination gets tested and I can think and dream of things that I never could before. People from various stories become my friends and it’s easy to pretend that they are really with me. Even when there is only a very short description of a character or location, an image of the thing will come into my mind.

My favorite book is Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. It is epic, exciting, and deep. Lord of the Rings is a trilogy that I would recommend to ages 11 and up. The way that Tolkien wrote can be very complicated, but the runes (the writing of different creatures such as dwarves and elves) and languages he invented are amazing. His descriptions of people and landscapes are so vivid they come to life. It’s like they pop out of the book. Even the first page is a portal to Middle Earth (the world in Lord of the Rings) and you are whisked away to new and exciting adventures. Everywhere that is mentioned becomes real to you and it seems like it is no longer a fantasy book. It feels like you could really go there.

When I see certain movies, it makes the books that they are based on even more special. You can see all the parts that the moviemakers missed out, all the characters that they added in, and you know what each character is thinking or feeling at the time. Sometimes, characters or places in movies can disappoint you because you imagined them differently. Also, parts they leave out can disappoint you because you like those parts in the book. For example, I loved the part in the book that included Tom Bombadil – an odd, mystical but fun and jolly person who saved some of the main characters in the books of Lord of the Rings – but they didn’t include him in the movie (sigh).


Also on The Big Smoke


Something that has become quite popular are e-readers. An e-reader is a book and technology merged together. There are settings, just like on a phone or tablet. There are books that you can download and buy. However, there are also over 50,000 free e-reader books that you can download and read. E-readers are the same size and shape as a tablet. A lot of people like e-readers possibly because they are trying to read more but still cannot completely be away from their devices. I have an e-reader and I think it is amazing that you can have hundreds of books on one small object. They are handy for traveling because you can download all your books onto it and it’s light and easy to carry.

Some people cannot read overly well. They might have dyslexia or a similar problem. Quite a few people I know aren’t able to read as fast as they would like to, or they struggle with words that other people might find easy. Therefore, they dislike books. Although, there are surprisingly easy ways to make reading less of a challenge.

I think that at home, in school, offices, and other workplaces, reading should be encouraged a bit more. Some people do not make enough time to read. For example, somebody may have a very busy timetable and think that they have no time for a thing like reading. However, even if you read for a few minutes before you fall into the land of dreams, it will do you a big favor. Also, you can bring a book to read on the train to work and it can take away all the daily worry and stress of traveling.

In summary, I think that reading is a wonderful thing and should be encouraged, loved, and enjoyed worldwide.


This article is part of a series for The Big Smoke Next Gen.

The Big Smoke Next Gen is a program which matches professional and experienced writers, academics, and journalists with students who wish to write nonfiction articles and voice their opinions about what is shaping the world.

For more information about our program at The Big Smoke, or to become a mentor, please contact us.


Cara Barnard

Cara Barnard is an eleven-year-old half-Australian half-Irish girl who loves gymnastics, ballet, and writing. Although her favorite thing to do in the whole world is reading. She lives in London, England, but still writes articles for The Big Smoke.

Related posts