To Read or Not to Read…

That is NOT the question according to Walter Dean Myers, the newly appointed National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. During his two-year ambassadorship, Myers will promote the theme: Reading Is Not Optional. We could not agree more.  Furthermore, we could not be happier that Myers has been designated the nation’s third Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Authoring the bestseller “Monster,” a 30 year career in literature, and a hundred titles make up Myers’ impressive and extensive resume.

With Myers leading the fight against illteracy, we are looking forward to a promising two years.  In NPR’s David Greene’s interview with Myers, Myers passion for reading and educating America’s youth shines through: “I visit juvenile prisons a lot,” states Myers, “and I’m appalled at the reading levels…in New York State only 40 percent of kids in the eighth grade are reading proficient.” Taking his analysis a step further, Myers emphasizes just how problematic America’s education gap is, “that’s 40 percent of the white kids. Black kids, it’s down to about 15 percent.” 

In this interview Myers gets specific with his plans for the “Reading Is Not Optional” movement: He will strive to make sure every kid born within the next two years is read to; his objective is to reach every child in America, to set up mentoring groups targeting communities’ youth population, and to get everyone reading.  Myers believes early exposure to reading and youth mentor groups will make a difference in this country.

Thrilled about the “Reading Is Not Optional” campaign, we are elated Myers has been appointed the U.S. Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. We recommend reading NPR’s transcript at To Do Well in Life, You Have to ‘Read Well’ for Greene’s complete interview with Myers. Our congratulations to the newly appointed ambassador; Myers was sworn-in at the Library of Congress on January 10th, 2012.

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