Every book needs a reader…
August 8, 2017
Books on a shelf are lifeless. It is the reader who breathes life into a book and brings the story to life. A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies and the man who never reads lives only one. But maybe even more important, when I think back to the books I read as a child and the books I read today as an adult, I clearly see how they have been my guides. They taught me how to live —what does it mean to be a good human being; what does it mean to live a life of integrity?
I do believe there is no better way to spend time with a child than sharing a book. While recently working with a family we found ourselves inside a conversation about how we care for others. We fell into a lovely poem by Tulip Chowdhury, about how everyone needs a shoulder—
I need, very badly need
a shoulder to lean on
a shoulder to cry on
a wet shoulder to make more wet
and a shoulder that is a permanent place
no matter how wet I make it
will still hold my place,
will not offer the hanky
will just “hold me”
while I lean on.
Sometimes I think sharing a book with a child is akin to offering them a shoulder—to cry, to laugh, to feel safe, to be loved, to be nurtured. Does anyone outgrow the need for a shoulder?
I would hope not.
Our conversation that followed brought the words of P. L Travers (the creator of Mary Poppins) into focus— A writer is, after all, only half his book. The other half is the reader and from the reader the writer learns. Happy Birthday P.L. Travers—she would be 118 years old today, and her stories are still alive and well.
April 23, 2017
Ithaca by Cavafy is named after the most famous destination in world literature. The poem speaks of a life’s journey’s whose virtue is not in arriving at a destination, but in the journey toward. It was Mark Twain who said, Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do […]
April 8, 2017
BMAB is the leading advocate for family literacy in Hong Kong and I consider it an honor to be part of their work. I began working in Hong Kong in 1997 and the changes I have seen are tremendous. These changes have not just happened. It takes the hard work of so many dedicated volunteers […]
March 6, 2017
The vision of BMAB is a Hong Kong in which every child is read to, strengthening family and community bonds, and creating a love of learning, taps into how children become lifelong readers. Parental involvement is essential to a child’s success in school. When children start reading independently, parents need to become more, not […]