Fairy Tales Are Good For You

I backed the Kickstarter campaign for Hello Ruby, in the author’s words, “a children’s book that teaches programming fundamentals through stories and kid-friendly activities.”  Estimated time of delivery: August 2014.

Kickstarter campaigns take months (sometimes years!) to get from idea to delivery, and project creators post regular updates to share progress. I like Kickstarter for these behind-the-scenes vignettes of how ideas turn into reality.

Today’s Hello Ruby update began,

 “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be very intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

– Albert Einstein

A great idea from a great mind.

The foremost thinker of his generation, advocating a literary diet of fairy tales for the scientists of tomorrow. Is this too good to be true?

No and yes.

Did Einstein say exactly that? No.

Did Einstein say something with the same intent? Yes.

A few minutes of searching led me to Jan Priddy’s post and story behind the quote:

‘In the [1954] New Mexico Library Bulletin, Elizabeth Margulis tells a story of a woman who was a personal friend of the late dean of scientists, Dr. Albert Einstein. Motivated partly by her admiration for him, she held hopes that her son might become a scientist. One day she asked Dr. Einstein’s advice about the kind of reading that would best prepare the child for this career. To her surprise, the scientist recommended Fairy tales and more fairy tales.” The mother protested that she was really serious about this and she wanted a serious answer; but Dr. Einstein persisted, adding that creative imagination is the essential element in the intellectual equipment of the true scientist, and that fairy tales are the childhood stimulus to this quality.’ (emphasis added)

Faith in humanity restored. Respect for MYP Design increased. Plans to read fairy tales with my girls this weekend validated.


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