Friday, January 8, 2010
When the new National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature was announced on January 4th, I cheered along with everyone else that Katherine Paterson had been appointed. I know how beloved she is and how many people cite her books among their life-long favorites.
While I was certain I’d read a few of her books, I couldn’t remember exactly what I’d read. I looked over her list of titles to refresh my memory and was shocked with what I found.
I had read exactly one book.
Once I got over the surprise, I had two options: play along with the world and cheer Ms. Paterson on without sharing any personal opinion or publicly acknowledge this gap in my reading history. I decided I was strong enough to do the latter and tweeted, “Aunt Feather is embarrassed to admit she's only read one book by our new Ambassador of Children's Lit. She'll be heading to the library to rectify this.”
And I did. That afternoon I scoured the shelves at Brooklyn Public Library, checked out the nine books they had on the shelves and put holds on two additional titles that had been suggested. And I embarked on a Katherine Patterson Marathon Read. While I never intended to kick off 2010 with an author study, that’s exactly what’s happening.
I invite you to join me. Pick up a Katherine Paterson title you haven’t read. Revisit a favorite. Read one aloud with a child. Check out an audio book to share with your family.
And honor our new Ambassador by taking her advice: Read More. As she said in The New York Times, “I think of all the joy reading has given me. It is not just because it is good for you, but because it is good.”
I couldn’t agree more.