Tuesday, January 3, 2012
All hail the new National Ambassador for Young People's Literature
Happy New Year! It has been a while since my last post and, in addition to eating well, exercising regularly, losing weight, and yelling less, blogging more frequently is one of my key New Year's resolutions. More important to me than these aforementioned resolutions, though, is to resolve to do my part to make the world a better place. I'm not joking about that. I believe we each have a responsibility to think and act beyond ourselves and our immediate environment and be proactive participants in our communities. I feel like 2012 has gotten off to a good start and I'm very excited to tell you why. If you take a look at the first page of this morning's Arts section in the New York Times, you'll see an article entitled Children's Book Envoy Defines His Mission written by Julie Bosman. As Julie reports, a new National Ambassador for Young People's Literature has been appointed in this country and it's humbling to be part of the team that created this post and makes it all happen. The real work, of course, falls to each Ambassador and Walter Dean Myers is a force to be reckoned with. Walter is among the most prolific and most honored writers of books for young people. Like his Ambassadorial predecessors, Katherine Paterson and Jon Scieszka, Walter brings his unique perspective and charisma to his writing along with a genuine and palpable respect for his young readers. Walter's platform during his two-year term is "Reading is Not Optional". Walter wants people of all ages to recognize that reading is more than a school activity or a leisure activity - rather, reading is as essential to a person's success as eating, breathing and sleeping. Reading is not optional. The personal history and experience with which Walter backs his claims are compelling. His is a voice that generations need to hear and stories that generations need to read. Congratulations Walter Dean Myers and heartfelt congratulations to the young readers who have a new superhero to call their own. Happy New Year to all!