Every so often, I run into people who complain that children don’t read books anymore. These statements are always partly true disappointment, partly self-congratulatory, and partly of that human impulse to mythologize the good old days.
The truth is that the good old days weren’t all that good. The overall illiteracy rate in the United States in 1900 was 10.7% (30% for African Americans), according to the National Center for Education Statistics. 100 years later, in 2003, the CIA estimates a 1% illiteracy rate in the United States, thanks to mandated public education and the ongoing battle against discrimination.
Of course, even if kids are now more able to read, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are reading.
Turns out the naysayers weren’t finished being wrong.
When I brought 8 boxes of books (of all types—classic lit, mysteries, history, business, science, etc) to Trenton High West and set them in the cafeteria for students to take for free, Shaquasia Fuller (the student who helped organize this) emailed me an hour after lunch to say that all 8 boxes were gone, all voluntarily taken by Trenton High School students (except for one book by Anthony Trollope. Sorry Anthony!)
For National Night Out, when the Alexis Durlacher of the Trenton Police Department got a box of books to give away to Trenton kids alongside plastic toys provided by NNO, Alexis reported that the books were all gone before the plastic knicknackery.
The Trenton Books at Home Program distributes thousands of books every year to thankful teachers, parents and kids.
So, grumpy people, who long for the good old days, should confine their statements to the price of gas, when poker games that included more variations than Texas Hold ‘em and when Firefly was on the air.
Here’s a repost about a girl who loves to read so much, the library had to order more books because she had read everything on the shelves!
Saturday, June 2, 2012.4:00pm until 8:00pm.
Tamara Ramos’ Gallery on the Go, in coordination with Classics Used and Rare Books, is having a fund raiser for the Trenton Books at Home Program on Saturday June 2nd from 4 pm to 8 pm.
The program will include art installations centered around great works of literature,… including the writers of the Harlem Renaissance, Shakespeare, Dr. Seuss and the 1001 Arabian Nights. Artists include Will Kasso, Leon Rainbow, Craig Shofeld, Andrew Wilkenson and others.
Langston Hughes poetry to be read by Trenton’s own Geraldine R. Dodge poet, Doc Long at 5 pm.
Belly dancing performance, for the 1001 Arabian Nights, by Esther DeCew at 6 pm.
In addition, we will line the streets with local authors, each of whom will be selling and reading from their books. Authors include Louise Barton, Tika Bernadette, Karen Boyce, Todd CC Evans, Thierry Lundy, Jon Naar and Tracey Syphax.
The Books at Home Program provides FREE books for Trenton kids. Last year, with your help, we distributed almost $10,000 worth of books to kids in Trenton’s struggling school district. We hope to double that again this year. For more information about the program, visit http://www.classicsusedbooks.com/?page_id=13.
There is no suggested dollar amount for the fundraiser. If you can give, give what you feel comfortable giving. If you can’t, please still come and have a good time!
If you are able to give, checks should be made out to “Children’s Future” and have “Trenton Books at Home” in the memo line. Children’s Future is a 501c3 non-profit and these cash donations are tax deductable.
Sponsors for this event include former Mayor Douglas Palmer, Councilwoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, Councilwoman Marge Caldwell Wilson and Children’s Futures.
For more information, contact Eric Maywar at email@example.com.