Books, reading and libraries

Let's encourage children to read!

Do you read regularly? If you are learning English, whatever your level, a graded reader can help.  These are books at different levels from elementary through intermediate to advanced.  Local bookshops and online stores can help. The best advice is to find something you like.

You might like to ask at your local library for English books too – for children, young people and adults.  Talking books come with an audio CD too, so you can read and follow the words.  There are also online versions.)

Recently, I saw a beautiful and moving story about how libraries mean a lot to us and meant a lot to one young girl in particular.  This video is just three minutes long, and well worth watching.


“Working and living in migrant farm workers’ fields, the conditions were terrible. My parents were alcoholics, and I was beaten, abused and neglected. I learned to fight with a knife long before I learned how to ride a bicycle.


When you are grinding day after day after day, there’s nothing to aspire to except filling your hungry belly. You may walk down the street and see a row of nice, clean houses, but you never, ever dream you can live in one. You don’t dream. You don’t hope.


When I was twelve, a bookmobile came to the fields. I thought it was the Baptists, because they used to come in a van and give us blankets and food. So I went over and peeked in, and it was filled with books. I immediately — and I do mean immediately — stepped back. I wasn’t allowed to have books, because books are heavy, and when you’re moving a lot you have to keep things minimal. Of course, I had read in the short periods I was allowed to go to school, but I’d not ever owned a book.


Fortunately, the staff member saw me and waved me in. I was nervous. The bookmobile person said, “These are books, and you can take one home. Just bring it back in two weeks.” I’m like, “What’s the catch?” He explained there was no catch. Then he asked me what I was interested in.


The night before, an elder had told us a story about the day that Mount Rainier blew up and the devastation from the volcano. So I told the bookmobile person that I was nervous about the mountain blowing up, and he said, “You know, the more you know about something, the less you will fear it.” And he gave me a book about volcanoes. Then I saw a book about dinosaurs, and I said, “Oh, that looks neat,” so he gave me that. Then he gave me a book about a little boy whose family were farmers. I took them all home and devoured them.


I came back in two weeks, and he gave me more books, and that started it. By the time I was fifteen, I knew there was a world outside the camps, and I believed I could find a place in it. I had read about people like me and not like me. I had seen how huge the world was, and it gave me the courage to leave. And I did.”


This American author then went on to graduate with a stenographer’s degree and work for Pierce County Library, where she worked for thirty-two years helping other people make a connection with the library. She speaks of her deep, abiding commitment to them – libraries save lives.

(Thanks to

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