Friday, May 20, 2011

Tidbits: Carl Sommer and why publishers, librarians, and educators can save the world (together)

  • Okay, anyone care to explain to me why at last glance, in the past month there have been 69 visits (sweet irony) to my post on Carl Sommer's Sex: If You're Scared of the Truth, Don't Read This Book, 61 of them in the past week?  Did a shipment of these just land in libraries across America?  Does the Rapture have anything to do with this?  Anyone care to share why you are googling this title? 
  • This opinion piece (Publishers as Partners in Literacy) on the NYTimes website is such a great argument and explanation on why book donations are not a solution for the book shortages in low income schools, how low cost publishing for low income schools is great, and how it can be mutually beneficial to libraries, the communities they serve, and, yes, THE KIDS. 
    Libraries, as noted, can make a huge difference. In fact, public spending on libraries has been shown to correlate with improved learning outcomes (something that the Congress should remember as it cuts budgets). But many of the families that First Book targets lack a strong tradition of reading or library use. Parents who struggle with their own literacy issues often feel ashamed by their lack of education, and some feel out of place in libraries and schools. A middle class adult who has grown up with books might say that these parents should just get over it and help their kids read — but that’s not how behavior change happens. Where there is resistance, an appreciation for books needs to be cultivated. Which is why efforts to deliver new books to poor children through educational channels are vital. Any program that gets books into the hands of children in a way that sparks their interest in reading serves as a bridge to other books and to libraries.
    Win, win, win, you guys!  The piece makes you feel warm and fuzzy.  There may have been more mist in my eyes than outside when I read the part about incarcerated dads recording first chapters of books for their teenagers...This is a great way to use up one of your quota of five (or whatever it really is) articles per month on the NYTimes website.

    Check back soon for a new review of a YA translation done real, real well, and two more recipes!

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