For the second part of the Rockstar Reader series, I was joined by the delightful and well-read Louis Harrison. He began by describing the origins of his love of books, “Ever since I can remember, I have loved reading books. I can’t pinpoint a specific book or series that got me hooked, but I can say that I used to love non-fiction books about whales, sharks and spiders (which is ironic as I am scared of spiders!). When I was eight, I started reading ‘The Tale of Despereaux’ by Kate DiCamillo and from there I found a love for fiction books.”

When moving onto the subject of how reading widely can open our minds towards the plight of others, Louis is enthusiastic, “Reading provides an amazing opportunity to educate and enlighten us about many social and political issues. It is through reading widely that I discovered two of my biggest passions: feminism and climate action. Different perspectives from books can really help shape your view on topics (like the two mentioned) to be more wholistic. This in turn makes us more tolerant to different opinions and concepts we may not have thought about previously.” We were certainly impressed by Louis’s ability to take in a range of perspectives when so many of us just want to have our pre-existing opinions confirmed.

Our conversation turns to the myriad of journeys reading can take us on, “To be able to experience the lives of so many and to feel a part of so many different stories is a beautiful thing that reading lends to an individual,” he says, “instead of just the character embarking on journeys of self-discovery and dramatic adventures, the reader is transported as well to that world. The idea that books can make you feel like you’ve seen a snapshot of life in the 1800s or as though you’ve just watched a close-up part of a world war is something so exciting”

When discussing characters, Louis says, “There are so many characters that I feel have captivated me and helped me learn more about myself as well! I will always have a soft spot for Anne Shirley from L.M. Montgomery’s ‘Anne of Green Gables’ series, however another character I feel a deep connection to is Tommy from James Dashner’s ‘Maze Runner’ series.”

It is clear from the way Louis expresses himself how reading has benefited his ability to communicate in a polished and deeply thoughtful way. His passions for the environment and gender equality combined with excellent language skills and a large dose of empathy will see him making a massive positive impact in our world, and we are excited to watch his journey unfurl. When explaining how reading has expanded his mind and perspective, he says, “My love for reading isn’t bound by a particular genre or style of text, which I believe has been an important part in broadening my perspective on life. From reading rich and meaningful poetry to reading the humorous pages of a quick graphic novel and everything in between, there is always so much to learn. As a reader, I love to write as well and being an avid reader really helps develop good writing skills. Reading also allows the individual to develop empathy for others through connecting to the characters in stories.”

So what advice would this amazing Rockstar Reader, Louis Harrison, give our budding readers at Hume Anglican Grammar, to help them become voracious readers? “Like most worthwhile activities, it takes time to build up your speed, comprehension, and overall reading abilities. With every single book you read, you are building up your reading muscle and expanding your mind! Try to find a book you like the sound of by reading the blurb. When you like a character and the book, you’re going to want to read more and more!

“For Primary readers (Years 3 - 6) and Secondary readers, I recommend the ‘Percy Jackson’, ‘Gone’ and ‘Mortal Engine’ series. You can’t go past a good picture storybook though, and contrary to popular belief, they are not just for little children – I still love ‘Winnie the Pooh’!”

Siana Einfeld - Library Assistant