Meghan Cox Gurdon is an internationally-known children’s book critic and the author of The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction. Her influential weekly column in the Wall Street Journal, which began running in 2005, reaches more than 2 million readers every week. A mother of five, Gurdon is a sophisticated, eloquent and joyful advocate for reading aloud and the social, emotional, cultural, and literary pleasures and benefits that it offers. She’s truly an enthusiast and has been reading aloud every evening since the first of her five children arrived 24 years ago and she not only refuses to stop, but she also hopes to persuade you to do the same!
The Enchanted Hour (Harper) is a 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. Gurdon draws on the latest brain science and behavioral research, as well as from literature and personal anecdote, to explore the multifaceted power of a practice that has origins in antiquity and amazing relevance for today’s tech-addled families. Amid the depleting distractions of screens and devices, she writes: “A miraculous alchemy takes place when one person reads to another, one that converts the ordinary stuff of life -- a book, a voice, a place to sit, and a bit of time -- into astonishing fuel for the heart, the mind, and the imagination.”
Gurdon graduated Magna cum Laude from Bowdoin College in 1986, and after a stint in as a television producer in New York, moved overseas to marry the English journalist, Hugo Gurdon, and begin work as a freelance foreign correspondent. Based first in Hong Kong, and later in Tokyo, London, Washington, and Toronto, Gurdon reported from dozens of international locales, including Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Somalia, Singapore, France, Germany and Israel. Her print and radio work has run in numerous outlets, such as the Christian Science Monitor, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Washington Post, National Review, Monitor Radio, and the public radio show, “Marketplace.”
After 9/11, having had four children in three different countries, Gurdon and her husband decided to relocate one last time, to Washington DC, where they welcomed their fifth child a few short weeks after she began writing her column for the Wall Street Journal.
A sought after and dynamic speaker, Gurdon not only deftly explains the research behind reading aloud and its positive effects on the brain, but she also demonstrates the magic that happens when words leave the page. Captivating audiences with excerpts from both classic children’s books and literary fiction to demonstrate the emotional range invoked by reading aloud, she leaves her audiences enamored and inspired. From libraries and historical societies to schools and book clubs, Gurdon has spoken across the country to audiences of all sizes. A perfect advocate for reading aloud and its ability to transcend age and background, she is an ideal speaker for universities, parenting groups and senior communities.
Praise for Meghan Cox Gurdon:
"Meghan was engaging, intelligent, a bit provocative, and very likable. Many attendees said they wish they could chat with her over coffee. Folks were very grateful for her ideas and her presentation was excellent. She was very accessible to attendees' questions and open to their ideas and enthusiasm, which was considerable thanks to her presentation."
-- Sharon L. Schmeling, WI Council of Religious & Independent Schools
"Meghan speaks with warmth, joy, and love for the written word and storytelling. She inspires all readers—avid and reluctant, young and old—to pick up a book and, more importantly, experience it with someone else. I cannot recommend her enough as a speaker, as well as an advocate for the power of human connection through reading aloud."
-- Steele W. Hearne, The Union League Club Library
"We hosted Meghan for an author talk on The Enchanted Hour and I have heard nothing but positive feedback from those who attended. Meghan delivered a captivating presentation, and her passion for reading aloud is contagious. I have already recommended her to a neighboring library system, and I would certainly welcome the opportunity to work with her again."
--Marlene England, Curious Iguana bookstore
"We hosted Meghan for a talk and book signing on The Enchanted Hour. What a delightful speaker – and what an important topic. I heard her speak several years ago on this topic, and she is just as I remembered her - fabulous. She is also a delight to work with, friendly and engaging with all attendees who were eager to purchase the book and have her sign it."
--Bridgett Wagner, The Heritage Foundation
"Meghan was magnificent. An incredible speaker with a brilliant mind. She really put in perspective the value of reading to kids – it’s actually life changing. We had close to 250 attendees and they won’t stop raving on how amazing she was."
--Rhonda Shevrin, BookMates Director
Praise for The Enchanted Hour:
“Parents and grandparents shouldn’t miss The Enchanted Hour, but more important, we all need to heed this delightful book’s wise advice.”
-- James Patterson, international bestselling author
“Don’t pick up this bewitching book! It’s so enchanting you won’t be able to put it down.”
-- Mem Fox, award-winning author of Reading Magic
“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 & Ruby Series
“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
“As soon as I began to read, I was filled with that kind of engrossed blossoming that happens somewhere inside of you when you start a really nourishing book.”
-- Pandora Sykes, the UK Sunday Times
“An inspiring argument for sharing the joys of reading.”
“For anybody interested in reading, especially parents, teachers, caregivers, and librarians, this inspirational work proclaims its joys and rewards.”
--- Library Journal