But what does it mean? Reading around the world? Is that possible?
Oh, that it were true!
Books are such an intricate part of our lives, especially those of us who visit libraries, that it's hard to comprehend that there are actually those who might not have this sweet treat in their midst. There are actually people who do not have books in their homes, igloos, teepees, cottages, abode! There really are people who savor words, paper, writing utensils, books, like some of us do Swiss chocolate! One of my favorite quotes is from a Chinese gentleman in the book Pavillion of Women, by the great author Pearl Buck: "But Mother, Mother," her son exclaimed, "to know how to read is to light a lamp in the mind, to release the soul from prison, to open a gate to the universe."
Oppressive regimes throughout history sought to keep the ability to read only for the chosen.
Even in America, over 40 million people have difficulty with basic reading skills. A third of welfare recipients are illiterate. Three quarters of the prison population do not have high school diplomas.
When one considers that it takes an 8th grade reading level to understand the instructions on a bottle of medication, the reality of the plight of so many children and families becomes more painfully clear. So literacy around the world impacts all of us, on so many levels!
There are vast amounts of good people striving to bring this gift to countless others everywhere. It is but one reason why I love my job. The thought of placing a book in someone's hands and making it come alive for them is right up there with French pastries in my book!
As Cicero said, "A room without books is like a body without a soul." And great people all over the world are working to make that happen on Sept. 8 and probably 364 other days of the year!