Today is my granddaughter, Lola Mae’s, third birthday. I’m jazzed to have her in the world and in my life. See that look in her eyes? That’s the look I always want to see when a kid listens to me read one of my books…heck…any book. Those inquisitive young minds need stories that will transport and transfix them. They need stories that will show them how to become the best humans they can be. I recently read a stat from, if I remember correctly, a British publication that said you can predict the number of prison cells a population will need based on the number of illiterate 11 year olds. Books change lives. Lola Mae is one of the lucky ones. She has parents who adore her and who read to her and surround her with music and a beautiful natural environment. As monies drift away from hiring school librarians and entire counties in Oregon have had to close their libraries for lack of funds, I fear for the future of our citizenry. So, writers and book lovers and teachers and parents wherever you may be, please…put books into the hands of kids and help them learn to read them!
While I’m here, let me tout the Oregon S.M.A.R.T. program (getsmartoregon.org). They’re doing a great job of making new readers and they’ve even published a book of short stories written and illustrated by Oregonians to celebrate their 25th anniversary. It’s a great book and a purchase supports this vital volunteer organization. If you get your hands on one, check out my story “Will and the Piper.” You’ll also find stories by my awesome writer peeps Judy Cox, Barbara Kerley, and Nancy Coffelt, and many more. Enjoy!