How Many is too Many?

A library in St. Louis County has launched an initiative to get parents reading to their kids before kindergarten. But I think their goal is a bit lofty. Parents are encouraged through prizes to read 1000 books to their child before they reach kindergarten.

That’s a thousand books in the first five years of their life. I know the books are short and you can read multiple books in a single day, but new parents aren’t exactly full of free time. Obviously the program is designed to create and enhance better language skills and vocabulary, but eh. I don’t know how many books were read to me before kindergarten, but I know it wasn’t close to a thousand of them. 

Do you think this library is on to something or just a little too enthusiastic with its expectations?

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If you Could Build a Library

A little late today because I decided to sleep last night rather than write a post. And then this afternoon I wanted to talk to the girlfriend instead of write this. Eh.

But I was thinking about where I might build  library if I had the chance to do so. Not a Little Free Library, a free standing private library. What I’ve decided is pretty simple and straightforward. I’d look at the city of Houston and identify as many as 10 areas that lack a library altogether or have one in need of financial support. Then I’d research for a year to determine the specific location. I’d cater the events and inventory to the people in the surrounding community.

The library would have ultra high speed internet and typewriters for use. And the entire staff (as much as possible) would live within five miles of the branch. Why? Because they’d have a vested interest in helping as many people as possible. It wouldn’t just be an “easy” job for them.

Lastly, friends of the library sales wouldn’t be operated the same as other libraries. Paperbacks would be the standard $0.25 each and hardcovers would be $0.50, but only once a customer has already gotten 10 books free of charge. Because if the money is there to finance the day-to-day operations of the library, then there is no reason to charge everyone for books that have been read dozens of times.

I’d also name the library after someone who has a history of promoting literacy and reading. I wouldn’t name it after the city or after myself. The name would be one synonymous with books.

Where would you build your library if you could?

A Story I Know You’ll Love

Ron Lynch is a name likely completely unknown to you. And Matthew Flores is probably no different. But the rest of the world is becoming more and more acquainted with the two by each passing day. Let me tell you why.

Ron Lynch is a mail carrier for the United States Postal Service (USPS). For those of you located in other parts of the world, USPS is our primary snail mail service. Recently Ron Lynch discovered 12-year-old Matthew searching through junk mail for anything he could read. And Matthew even asked him if he had any extra mail that he could read because his family doesn’t have a car and can’t afford for him to take the bus to his local library. But Mr. Lynch decided to do something just a little bit better than junk mail. He put this on Facebook.

One would expect the typical person to have a few hundred friends on Facebook and to actually interact with a fraction of them, right? Wrong. This post has caught fire. People all over the world have been rushing to send young Matthew books to read. And I’m asking you to join in! I’m not asking you to send him a box of all your favorite books, but if you do have a book or two that you think this young boy would enjoy, then I say ship it to him. I’m getting on Amazon and finding something for him right now as I sit here and write this. I’m even going to include a personal message.

Matthew just wants to read as much as he possibly can, and I want to help him do that.

Let’s all give Ron Lynch a nice salute for what he did. He showed us that the world isn’t such a bad place after all. There are plenty of good people all around.

PS: The address for Matthew’s local post office is at the end of the first picture. You may have to click “see more” depending on your device.

This happened after just a few days.

I decided to send him a boxed set of the Percy Jackson series! But then I realized that he’s already gotten it. 😦 I’m going to think about this for a day or two and then decide. But you don’t need to wait for me!

It would be really nice of you to share this post with your friends, followers, or whomever. Because it’s impossible to have too many books, right? 🙂

I’m Sick of People Trying to Ban Books

In recent weeks there has been a lot of controversy down here in some Texas libraries. Some people have tried really hard to ban books. And they haven’t succeeded.

There are two books that immediately come to mind when I think of this recent nonsense. I don’t remember the titles, but one was a children’s book that dealt with transgender issues, and I believe the other dealt with growing up as an LGBT person. Also a children’s book. These are just the two examples that come to mind. This post is NOT about what you think when you see a trans person or what you think of so-called “adult” issues appearing in children’s books. Because right now the content is irrelevant.

These people (and there have been A LOT of them) have tried to get these books either out of the library or in a different section of the library because they don’t agree with them or their placement. Think about that. Now think about how many books are published each year that you don’t agree with. But you’re not in your local library trying to change which books they carry or how they display their books. And I’m definitely not doing that.

People need to just accept that the world doesn’t revolve around everything they believe in because I know I’m not the only one getting sick of this crap about banning or censoring books. There wouldn’t be any books in the library if everyone conducted themselves this way.

Have there been any high profile incidents of people trying to ban books near you recently?

President Obama Announces eBook Program for Low-Income Children

I read about this a few days ago and knew I’d have to write about it here. Ya’ll know how the Big Five publishing companies hardly ever seem to be on the same page about anything? Well they’re all on board for this.

Here’s what’s happening. Publishers (Big Five included) are giving away $250 million worth of free eBooks through an app developed by the New York Public Library to young, low-income readers. Of course, it’s a little unfortunate that it’s eBooks and not printed books because we all know that these low-income households may not have internet access or an appropriate device to read these eBooks on.

Which is why the White House is also running a program through dozens of cities and counties across the country to get every student a library card. One of the goals of all of this, besides getting these children reading, is to get them into their neighborhood libraries. Because if they don’t have internet access or an eReader, then libraries can become that reading haven for them.

What do you think about the White House and major publishers working together on a program that can put a lot of eBooks into the hands of many children who otherwise wouldn’t have access to them?


On this day in 2014 I published Saturday Selects: The Beauty of Country Music.

 

Burning Books

Over the course of human history several groups have made the choice to burn books. And I think ISIS has now done the same. I’m just wondering why this happens.

I understand that during the days before electricity burning books would have been a surefire way to stop people from gaining knowledge. Imagine a town with one central library that was burned to the ground. Would the people just stop learning? No. But not having any books would make it a bit more difficult. But now we’re living in a very different age. We have the internet. We have all kinds of books in the public domain. We can gather information from so many different sources that it really makes no sense to burn books (not that it ever did).

I guess I can see it as an intimidation tactic to demonstrate that nothing is out of your reach, but burning books doesn’t really sway any opinions. Just like burning businesses, historical landmarks, or homes does nothing to change the opinions of people. With the technology that we have today (even in lesser developed countries) books can never really be burned. Printed books can be destroyed, but the information, stories, and everything that lies within the pages of a book cannot be taken away.


On this day in 2014 I published Letter From Character to Author.

 

Guest Post: The Wonderful World of YA

Why do I love reading YA books? This is actually a question I get frequently because nearly 95 percent of the books I read are Young Adult books. The other 5 percent are a mixture of Middle Grade and New Adult books, with a dash of whatever my future Mother-in-Law throws my way. I’ve read a variety of other genres but nothing ever felt quite right, like they were lacking something. It’s almost like the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

My Start

When I was a freshman in high school I was pretty terrified due to the fact that I had been home schooled all of grade and middle school. When it came to my first week of freshman English we went to the library to pick out our own book to read for the month. I was familiar with my public library a few streets down from my house, but I never really enjoyed what I read. The class period was almost over and I still couldn’t find anything and all the other students had already found their books. My teacher pulled me aside and handed me Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. She pulled me into the small YA section of the library and simply said “I think you’ll like these books…” and gave me a warm smile. I took the book home that night and by the time I was in English the next day I had finished it. I begged my mom to take me to Borders that night and buy the second book in the series, Pretties. They’re still my favorite books to this day!

YA’s Unwarranted Criticism

People bash YA books quite a bit. It’s sad. I think regardless of the quality or genre of book a person is reading, at least they’re reading! Every genre has poorly written books. But there are some amazingly talented authors who write YA that can rival some of the most legendary authors out there. Libba Bray, Scott Westerfeld, Leigh Bardugo, Veronica Roth, Sarah J. Maas, Alexandra Bracken and the list goes on and on. Many of the books that are being adapted into movies are mostly YA! Divergent is phenomenal and The Hunger Games is spectacular. Then there’s John Green. The Fault in Our Stars. Looking For Alaska. Two adaptations in two years! Panic by Lauren Oliver was optioned for film and she’s writing the screenplay! Whether you’re a young adult yourself or you’re in your 40s, these books offer something for everyone. YA should not be viewed as a “lesser” genre than any other, because that’s just ridiculous.

The Appeal of YA

YA appeals to me for so many reasons. For one, a lot of the explicit language and material is cut out. It’s not necessary and the author just adds more adventure to the story. During this period the characters’ emotions are heightened. Everything is felt so intensely. This is a time in your life when you’re experiencing a lot of firsts. I think how these authors capture all of this, then throw in some crazy plot of the world being separated into factions and fighting each other to the death, is pretty amazing. When I first started reading YA a lot of the stories dealt with issues I was also dealing with, and they became a coping mechanism.

Now I’m a twenty-something, engaged, college student and daycare teacher. I read to escape from the stresses of  daily life, and YA is my primary escape. The books are fast paced and unlike a lot of people (I guess), I don’t want to read five pages about the description of a forest. I read because I enjoy reading, not because I want to give myself a headache. I read YA because I like it. Simple as that. Just like John enjoys reading crime novels. That’s what interests him. YA is what interests me!

Happy Reading!

Aly

ILikeBooksTooMuch