The Enchanted Hour
The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction
A Wall Street Journal writer’s conversation-changing look at how reading aloud makes adults and children smarter, happier, healthier, more successful and more closely attached, even as technology pulls in the other direction.
A miraculous alchemy occurs when one person reads to another, transforming the simple stuff of a book, a voice, and a bit of time into complex and powerful fuel for the heart, brain, and imagination. Grounded in the latest neuroscience and behavioral research, and drawing widely from literature, The Enchanted Hour explains the dazzling cognitive and social-emotional benefits that await children, whatever their class, nationality or family background. But it’s not just about bedtime stories for little kids: Reading aloud consoles, uplifts and invigorates at every age, deepening the intellectual lives and emotional well-being of teenagers and adults, too.
Meghan Cox Gurdon argues that this ancient practice is a fast-working antidote to the fractured attention spans, atomized families and unfulfilling ephemera of the tech era, helping to replenish what our devices are leaching away. For everyone, reading aloud engages the mind in complex narratives; for children, it’s an irreplaceable gift that builds vocabulary, fosters imagination, and kindles a lifelong appreciation of language, stories and pictures.
Bringing together the latest scientific research, practical tips, and reading recommendations, The Enchanted Hour will both charm and galvanize, inspiring readers to share this invaluable, life-altering tradition with the people they love most.
Praise For The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction…
— Yours Magazine (UK)
“An inspirational account that will make you want to grab a book and share it with someone you love.”
— Sun (UK)
“This wonderful audiobook is a fully enjoyable listen. . . . [Gurdon’s] pacing is excellent, and her ability to maintain listener attention is impressive. . . . An important and engaging audiobook.”
— AudioFile Magazine
“Don’t pick up this bewitching book! It’s so enchanting you won’t be able to put it down.”
— Mem Fox, author of Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes and Reading Magic
“The Enchanted Hour enthralled and inspired me in equal measure.... Meghan Cox Gurdon’s book is the most charming, gentle encouragement to step away from your phone, and into the embrace of your family’s most vivid imaginations.”
— Sarah Ivens, author of Forest Therapy
“Parents and grandparents shouldn’t miss The Enchanted Hour, but more important, we all need to heed this delightful book’s wise advice: Please read to your kids. It’s not the school’s job to get our kids reading, it’s our job – and it’s a wonderful, magical act of love and caring.”
— James Patterson, international bestselling author
“Meghan Gurdon has given today’s parents much needed wisdom to raise attentive and curious children in the Age of Distraction. I hope her book finds a huge audience.”
— Rosemary Wells, author of the Max and Ruby series
“Gurdon convincingly describes the importance and delight of sharing books with loved ones. . . . For anybody interested in reading, especially parents, teachers, caregivers, and librarians, this inspirational work proclaims its joys and rewards.”
— Library Journal (starred review)
“In her heartfelt first book, Gurdon makes an earnest... case for reading aloud.... An inspiring argument for sharing the joys of reading.”
— Kirkus Reviews
Harper, 9780062562814, 304pp.
Publication Date: January 15, 2019
About the Author
Meghan Cox Gurdon is an essayist, book critic, and former foreign correspondent who has been The Wall Street Journal's children's book reviewer since 2005. Her work has appeared widely, in publications such as The Washington Examiner, The Daily Telegraph, The Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, and National Review. A graduate of Bowdoin College, she lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with her husband, Hugo Gurdon, and their five children.