I spent today reading Lisa Graff's ABSOLUTELY ALMOST. Earlier in the week I read a dozen or so picture books. I also finished reading READY, PLAYER ONE with my ears. Each and every book formed a connection for me. In GASTON, I identified with the feeling we all have sometimes that we do not belong, that somehow we were born into the wrong family or set of circumstances. I identified with Albie in ABSOLUTELY ALMOST, a young boy who longs to be good at SOMEthing. I tensed during the final battle in READY PLAYER ONE despite the fact that I am not a gamer at all. Like FROODLE's main character, I want to make my own sound, make my own way, not blend in all the time. RHYME SCHEMER reminded me of a time when my own words were used against me. These touch points are in everything I read from the silly to the poignant, from picture books to novels to nonfiction, in audio and GN. It does not matter. I find something that connects me to books and then to the larger world outside of the book.
That is why I will rail here time and again about the need for books and reading in the lives of kids. Making those connections, developing empathy, meeting the "other" or myself: they enrich my life and my humanity.