"LITERACY IS A VACCINE AGAINST THE CHARLATANS OF THE WORLD WHO WOULD EXPLOIT YOUR IGNORANCE."
I like the idea of literacy as a vaccine. And this is a part of why I continue to rail against restrictions on reading whether they come from prescribed lists (exemplar texts, the canon, etc.) or from the setting of standards (lexiles and levels) or from books we dare not let kids read (banned and challenged books). It also dovetails nicely with the quote which was running through my brain last week when I awoke in the middle of the night:
"IF WE KEEP KIDS FROM THE TRUTH, EVEN THE HARD TRUTHS, ALL THEY HAVE LEFT ARE LIES."
I still have no idea of why that sentence was in my head, but I jotted it down before returning to sleep. I think subconsciously it has something to do with all of the reports of book bannings and challenges of late. I worry again that restricting kids' access to any and all books is more harmful in the long run.
I want kids to be vaccinated against charlatans who appear in various guises throughout their lives. I think books can play a role in this vaccination process. I believe that by reading about others who are mean or mean-spirited, kids can learn to be kind (WONDER). I believe that by reading about the abuse of animals, kids can learn to be better guardians (THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN, ENDANGERED). I believe that confronting bullies in books is a safer test that confronting them in real life (WINGER). I believe that by giving kids books filled with beautiful language we are giving them more lyrical ways of expressing themselves (THE WINTER ROOM). I believe that we can ensure the future is not bleak by letting kids see and reject possible dystopias (KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO). I believe books have this power, the power for good. I think we need to ensure kids get sufficient doses of the vaccine to see them through any contamination by those who would harm them. I believe books can save.
ETA: Thanks to Nikki Barnes for this posting to Facebook: