Here is the link to the entire speech by Pullman: https://astridlindgrenmemorialaward.wordpress.com/2015/12/17/children-need-art-and-stories-and-poems-and-music-as-much-as-they-need-love-and-food-and-fresh-air-and-play/.
The title is almost ironic as many schools now have cut back and/or eliminated recess for kids during the annual testing torture. Pullman calls this narrowing of focus away from arts and solely on STEM or only on math and ELA as they are tested "cultural starvation." I concur. Last week I told a friend that Prince had died. The response, Prince who? This weekend I played the SNL tribute of Prince. At first my BH was not paying much attention. But as song after song played, he put down his book, watched the video, and even spoke about how much he had underestimated the man and his music. His mind was fed. So was his soul. I have walked around for days now with snippets of Prince songs running through my brain.
Imagine not having access to music and art and stories. In some places, this is not just a dystopian dream, it is reality. Libraries are closing. Funds for books are cut drastically. Today, I put books out on our FREE BOOKS cart in the hall. There are several students who know to come by weekly to troll the shelves. They were thrilled today to find picture books, chapter books, and YA books. Those shelves are much lighter than they were this morning. These are future teachers, and I am thrilled that these books will make their way into classrooms soon. These kids' minds and hearts and sould will be fed. As Pullman concludes: "We say, correctly, that every child has a right to food and shelter, to education, to medical treatment, and so on. We must understand that every child has a right to the experience of culture. We must fully understand that without stories and poems and pictures and music, children will starve."