As I flick through the pages of the fabulously illustarted 'Purnell's Book of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Monsters' (first published 1977) and am transported back to my childhood by the wonderfully evocative photographs and drawings - which still resonate within me today - I'm aware once again of the power of books.
Thinking back, there have been numerous books which have captivated me, and more than that: shaped me. Volumes which have changed the way I have thought and, perhaps, even set my life in certain directions. We are what we eat (they say) and I'm fairly convinced that we are also what we read - and watch, and hear and download.
I'm fairly sure that my enquiring young mind was shaped by this one book - and Sir David Attenborough's classic documentaries 'Life on Earth,' and 'The Trials of Life,' (which I was allowed to stay up and watch!)
So as my son flicks through his 'Rocks and Fossil Hunter' activity book, I wonder, will he be a geologist? Will the love of detail in nature (and especially the love of getting mucky in search of gems and stones) flower into something more serious as his mind is grabbed by books?
It is a joy and also a challenge. We're constantly told we need less junk food in our diet
and to eat our five-a-day, so what is our reading/viewing equivelent? There are so many great and enjoyable opportunities to learn, discover and explore today - so let's make the most of them, and encourage the next generation to do likewise!