I am privileged to be working with an amazing team of volunteers, authors, illustrators and the founders of One World Schoolhouse Foundation this week for the Rainforest of Reading awards in St. Lucia.
The quote of the day comes from Peggy Collins. “What we are doing here is special. It’s kind of like a campground. You want to leave it better than you found it.” We hope that our work here with thousands of grade 3-5 children will inspire them, remind them to keep the doors of their imaginations and the covers of their books open as they grow.
Tomorrow in Castries, we will be part of a large festival celebrating literacy and the many ways to engage with it. We will make memories, spark passions and invite curiosity.
Here’s the political part…where will these students go when they have questions or want to find out more about the things that pique their imaginations? Most schools here have no libraries. Most communities have no libraries. Books are a commodity, school computers lacking the space, ventilation and programs to operate effectively. When I was a kid, I loved my weekly trips to the library and always left with a stack of books as tall as I was, reading or being read to every night. I could spend hours perusing the shelves, hours more curled up feasting on the words on the page. Here, children do not have this luxury. On a tour of schools here, you would find that parents must purchase textbooks and not much is left over for non-essential literature. On a visit to a school ‘library’ you might find a smattering of old National Geographics and not much more. How can this be?
Our goal as authors and illustrators is to ignite a passion in a generation of readers. This is difficult when there are no books, places or times set aside to enjoy the magic of a story. I encourage everyone for find a way to share that magic…help build a proper library, organize a book drive for a school near or far. Help to leave this place a little better than we found it.
With Kari-Lynn Winters, Peggy Collins, Sonya White, Alice Feagan and Alma Fullerton, getting buttons ready for the first of two big days!