I was tipped off to the program by my ever-helpful Dad. He is always scanning things he feels dovetail with either my writing career or my natural bent towards children and learning.
The program is simplicity itself, an attempt to encourage kids to uncover or rediscover the wonder of reading. The primary driving force is a literacy coach in one of the city’s schools. Along with others of like mind, they navigated through the people and organizations vital to the program’s success and built partnerships and enthusiasm along the way.
The five primary schools involved have a large population of students who don’t have the financial capabilities for luxury reading, but have an untapped eagerness to read more. The program will combine the skills and organization of the literacy goals with the generosity and enthusiasm of people like me to donate books.
I was a little nervous about my ability to participate, since the schools are several cities north of me (though not that far geographically), but that fear was quickly allayed. The primary driver of the program was excited to have a local author and extended an invitation to the kickoff meeting.
As one can tell by my “underground” success, I am somewhat uncomfortable with being in the public eye (no doubt an underlying reason for my feeble “live” marketing attempts). Though this was a more intimate setting, with only a 20 or 30 people, I was chagrined when I was asked to “pose” with my book and stand at the front while being introduced. I wasn’t sure my “bona fides” qualified such public acknowledgement.
Though I intended to slip away quickly and relatively harmlessly, I was engaged by several different partners in the program. Apparently my earnestness showed and I was asked if I would be willing to come to the schools and speak to the kids. I was flattered, of course, but still somewhat cautious of their possibly overly high opinion of my author status. My love of reading and enjoyment of children eventually overcame my reluctance and I said I would be happy to talk if they contacted me.
And I would be happy, as an author or simply a person, because reading is one of the most magical things we are able to do in life. It allows us to travel beyond the confines of our lives in a personal way that movies and TV never can. Only the pages of the book are bound by its covers, for the reader is free within their mind to see what they want, think what they want and dream what they want. It is a magic unlike any other entertainment because it is so intimate.
Opening up that doorway in the mind is a treasure. Helping a program designed to bring children to that door is a special honor.