Next week, my publisher is flying me to New York City. While I’m there, The Book Fairs will be filming me for some promo things that I’ll be able to talk more about at a later time. I’ll also be doing some recording for the audiobook of The Clockwork Three. The audio producers are adding some cool “bonus” content to the CDs, and they want me to read an introduction for it. And I’ll be able to visit the Scholastic offices, and most importantly, meet my editor for the first time. I’m way excited about the whole thing, and I’ll post some pictures when I get back.
But speaking of Scholastic, the company’s CEO, Dick Robinson, recently delivered a speech at the 2010 Bologna Children’s Book Fair. It has been described as a “call to arms,” and I love what he had to say about children’s literacy in the 21st century. It made me proud to be a Scholastic author.
Some of my favorite quotes:
– We believe that literature and drama, whether in printed pages, screens, on stage or film, help young people experience the great stories of emotion and action, leading to a deeper understanding of what it means to be truly human.
– We believe that the massive amounts of digital information and images now transmitted daily make it even more important for a young person to know how to analyze, interpret and understand information, to separate fact from opinion, and to have deep respect for logical thinking.
– We believe every child should know how to connect to the great stories of character and feeling which drives all human behavior. Without this heritage, life lacks meaning, coherence, understanding and soul.
I agree with these statements, along with pretty much everything else he had to say. I think stories have a profound place in our lives. I think we’re all engaged in acts of storytelling, maybe more often than we realize and perhaps, at times, even without our awareness. My newest novel, the one I just finished and sent off to my editor and agent, is really a story about story, and in it I tried to explore the ways we use story to organize and give our lives meaning.
Here’s the video of the speech, and here’s to you, Mr. Robinson.
Full text of the speech available here.