There were two articles in the New York Times today I feel compelled to link to. The first is about the Queens Library's acquisition of materials in languages other than English. As fascinating as the main point of the article was, I was more intrigued by one librarian's comment that some of her (Chinese) patrons bring in suitcases to bring their books home, they take out so many. Suitcases! I hope they are the rolling kind.
The other is about the appointment of Walter Dean Myers as the national ambassador for young people's literature. I'm familiar with the nature of his work but confess I haven't read any of it. But the quote the article closes with caught my eye: "People still try to sell books that way - as 'books can take you to foreign lands.' We've given children this idea that reading and books are a nice option, if you want that kind of thing. I hope we can get over that idea." Now, if he means that books are not merely an option but a necessity, I agree wholeheartedly. But if he is disparaging the idea that "books can take you to foreign lands" - well, I have to object. While his works are realistic fiction which perhaps serve a purpose of allowing their readers to explore some of the difficulties in their lives, there is a place for books that take you to different lands, too. Not to mention that the land that Walter Dean Myers describes is very foreign to some.