UK authors and librarians' open letter to Education Secretary: stop closing school libraries!

I remember the day I realised that my daughter's London school had no library, the shock I felt, the sense that the cuts had gone beyond the bone, and that kids were being deprived of something critical -- and then the discovery that then-Education Minister Michael Gove was planning to spend a fortune distributing Bibles to schoolchildren with his name embossed in metal foil on the cover. Read the rest

The US has quit UNESCO, the UN agency that protects world heritage sites and teaches poor children to read

UNESCO is about as good as it gets in the world of UN Specialized Agencies, responsible for designating and protecting world heritage sites, running literacy for the poorest people on Earth, supporting potable water programs, protecting fragile and endangered ecosystems, running disaster preparedness plans for all to use, protecting indigenous knowledge, protecting the free press, and digitizing the world's libraries. Read the rest

About half of Detroit can't read

America's public education system is failing the citizens of Detroit, where the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund reports that 47% of people in Detroit are illiterate. In nearby suburbs, up to one-third are functionally illiterate. Read the rest

Trump's bookcase, Old State Department Library

Ladies and gentlemen, the bookcase of the Old State Department Library at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. (via Bookshelf) Read the rest

94% decline in librarians for Philadelphia's public schools

Since 1991, the number of full-time librarians working in Philadelphia's cash-strapped, budget-slashed public schools has declined by 94% -- only eight remain, while the state continues to trail the nation in literacy scores. Read the rest

Indianapolis launches literacy-promoting "Big Free Libraries"

Chris writes, "Indianapolis has just launched a great new series of art installations intended to promote both art and literacy." Read the rest

Cory at Reno's Grassroots Books this Friday!

I'm doing a Q&A and signing at Reno's Grassroots Books -- a local, indie store with an emphasis on affordable reading for all -- this Friday, Aug 28 at 6:30PM -- just a quick stop on the way to That Thing in the Desert. I hope you'll come by and say hello! Read the rest

Funky librarians

The librarians of Vernon, Illinois want you for their summer reading program, and they're not shy about it! (Thanks, Sharpchair64!) Read the rest

School bus driver bans little girl from reading

The school bus driver in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec told 8 year old Sarah Auger she wasn't allowed to read on the way to and from school because she might poke herself in the eye with a corner of the book. Read the rest

XKCD vs hand-wringing about what texting does to kids' literacy

It's great, and the tooltip's even better: "I'd like to find a corpus of writing writing from children in a non-self-selected sample (eg handwritten letters to the president from everyone in the same teacher's 7th grade class every year)--and score the kids today versus the kids 20 years ago on various objective measures of writing quality. Read the rest

Painted "bookbenches" spring up across London

The National Literacy Trust has dotted London with painted benches that celebrate classic works of literature from Paddington to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy. Read the rest

Who reads books in America, and how?

The Pew Internet and American Life project has released a new report on reading, called E-Reading Rises as Device Ownership Jumps. It surveys American book-reading habits, looking at both print books and electronic books, as well as audiobooks. They report that ebook readership is increasing, and also produced a "snapshot" (above) showing readership breakdown by gender, race, and age. They show strong reading affinity among visible minorities and women, and a strong correlation between high incomes and readership. The most interesting number for me is that 76 percent of Americans read at least one book last year, which is much higher than I'd have guessed.

E-Reading Rises as Device Ownership Jumps

(via Jim Hines) Read the rest

Auctioning a conceptual copy of Banksy's thrifted "Banality of the Banality of Evil" to benefit 826 Valencia

A San Francisco artist commissioned a Chinese artist to make a copy of "The Banality of the Banality of Evil" -- a painting that Banksy thrifted, added a Nazi to, and shop-dropped back into the thrift store. The copy, called "The Banality Of The Banality Of The Banality Of Evil," is now being auctioned to support 826 Valencia, a literacy for kids program in San Francisco. Read the rest

Canada Reads top-ten voting ends this weekend

As I mentioned last week, the CBC's Canada Reads list of top 40 Canadian books is up, and it's got a really commendable, wide-ranging variety of titles in it (including my own novel Little Brother). The CBC is asking for readers to choose their favorites by tomorrow, at which point they'll release the top ten list.

It's a great exercise for energizing the nation about reading, and I'm immensely flattered and excited to have a small part in it.

Canada Reads Top 40: Explore the books Read the rest

Raising a reader: how comics can help kids learn to love reading

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund -- tireless free speech crusaders who fight for comics' legitimacy -- commissioned a great educational resource about comics' role in literacy called Raising a Reader (PDF).

This new resource is written by Dr. Meryl Jaffe, with an introduction by three-time Newbery Award honoree Jennifer L. Holm (Babymouse, Squish) and art by Eisner Award winner Raina Telgemeier (Smile, Drama) and Eisner Award nominee Matthew Holm (Babymouse, Squish). Raising A Reader! was made possible by a grant from the Gaiman Foundation.

You can get print-ready digital files from the Foundation, and they'll have print copies at at San Diego Comic-Con.

CBLDF Releases RAISING A READER, a Resource for Parents and Educators Read the rest

Kids' soap opera, with a cameo by Nick Hornby: "Dead Ends"

Best-selling author Nick Hornby has a cameo role in a new soap opera, written by young people at the creative writing centre he co-founded in Hackney.

Knuckles that promote literacy

Spotted today at a Toronto restaurant: a great, pro-literacy set of knuckle-tatts.

READ MORE knuckles, Fresh, Crawford Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Read the rest

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