Today is International Literacy Day. According to UNESCo, 1 in 6 adults can not read. When I think of illiteracy I think of a young family that I met several years ago. Two teenagers struggling to get through high school while supporting their child and neither of them could read. Their illiteracy wasn’t something that they frequently discussed and I never asked them any of the questions that I had for them- How have you made it this far without learning to read? Were you drawn to each other because of what you had in common? How did your grade 2 teacher and grade 3 teacher and so on pass you into the next class when you couldn’t read? How are you getting through high school?
I haven’t seen them in years but I think about them still. I just can’t imagine not being able to read, unable to read street signs to find my way around a new city, or do grocery shopping? Most of all to not be able to pick up a book and read for entertainment.
Twitter has a page showing several things you can do to help end illiteracy. You could also donate to a local charity that promotes literacy, or volunteer your time.
This post ended up being a lot heavier than I intended it. On a more cheerful note, here’s a short roundup of my favourite children’s books about books, reading and libraries.
Miss Smith and the Haunted Library by Michael Garland. Miss Smith is awesome, she’s a total punk rock teacher who shows the kids how books can come to life 😉
Dewey: There’s a Cat in the Library! by Vicki Myron and Bret Witter. I believe this book is based on a real library cat.
Help! I’m a Prisoner in the Library! by Eth Clifford. This is a favourite of mine from childhood
Put Me in a Book! by Robert Munsch. So that’s what happens to his characters!