Consider this editorial not as polite applause for the good people at Camana Bay for their upcoming celebration of “Literacy Month.” Consider it a standing ovation!
Beginning today and throughout September, Camana Bay, along with Books & Books and LIFE (Literacy Is For Everyone) will present a series of creative and fun events to entice children, and their families, into the wonderful world of reading.
Many of the events are focused on the children’s books and their adaptation to films by beloved author Roald Dahl, whose 100th birthday falls on Sept. 13.
The month of activities include themed Story Times and Saturday-morning matinee movies based on Dahl’s works, including “Matilda,” “James and the Giant Peach,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “The Witches,” and “The BFG” (Big Friendly Giant).
We don’t know what to expect from the “revolting rhymes contest” or the gustatory delights likely to emerge from the cooking classes (based on “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” and other Dahl works), hosted by Camana Bay’s Bon Vivant. There will be a writing contest open to all local schools and a Reading Tree on the Crescent where readers can exchange books — bring one of your own and swap it for someone else’s. Keep the cycle going; keep reading.
At the Compass, all of our editors and reporters are avid readers. In fact, it is a truism that you cannot be a writer if you’re not a reader. You certainly cannot work in our newsroom.
Our newest and youngest reporter, Alma Chollette, probably doesn’t know it, but here’s how she got her job. Her interview was going just fine but it got a lot better once we asked her what she read. She answered “everything.” When she explained what “everything” was, we hired her on the spot. (See her Page One story today for more details on Literacy Month at Camana Bay.)
Patrick Brendel, who recently was elevated to Executive Editor of the Compass, estimates he reads about 10 hours every day. That would not be unusual for our staff – but Brendel (who is also a two-time Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee finalist) reads Marcel Proust and James Joyce – for intellectual nourishment. (Ever try to read Proust? It ain’t easy!)
Then there’s Basia McGuire who edits “District Days” for the Compass. How do you think Basia got on the internationally televised game show “Jeopardy”? By reading.
It’s fair to say that the world can be divided into two groups: People who read and people who don’t. Perhaps an International Paper advertising campaign in the early-1960s said it best: “Send Me a Man Who Reads!”
And so, in closing, let us again thank Camana Bay (and by proxy the Dart family), LIFE, and Books & Books for sponsoring and celebrating Literacy Month and, especially, introducing our young people to what we hope will be a lifetime of reading.
But, let’s not let the toddlers have all the fun. What a great opportunity for adults to rediscover reading — to turn off the TV, forget Facebook, abandon Twitter, and leave the bed unmade because you soon will be curling up under the covers with, well, a good book!