Books are so powerful

Published 9:52 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2012

As we sat around the long conference table, this thought kept running in my mind:

“Books are so powerful, Books are so powerful, Books are so powerful.” That thought still lingers in my mind as I write this Sketches.

I was sitting with school principals, librarians and other educators. One person very much present in the room was not sitting at the table. I will explain later. Stacks of books lay on the table, one stack for each school. These books were very special and very powerful.

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All books are powerful.Books have extra power to touch children’s lives. They touch some lives not usually touched. These books are very powerful.

All books are powerful but they become even more powerful as children see themselves in them. Subject matter, ages of characters, gender of characters, color of characters, and so on, determine the impact of books on particular students.

The more they see themselves in what they read, the more powerful the books become.

The Alabama education budget has no significant funding for school books. In fact, it has been several years since real funding was available to buy school books.

Therefore, the educators around the table were glad to receive any books. However, some were especially glad to receive these books because they understood their special power.

I know first-hand how important it is for children to see themselves in the books they read.

Without such books, I am certain that I would not have achieved the things that I have.

It was seeing myself in books that helped me to see myself beyond cotton fields, beyond dropping out of school, beyond the lumber mills, beyond the grinding poverty, beyond settling with a high school diploma.

Books are so powerful they transport us out of our current situations into a future that would otherwise be inconceivable. Books are powerful.

These books will touch lives next week, next month, next year and next decade. The same books will touch different lives over and over again because they will be read over and over again by oncoming students.

Books given to public schools just keep on giving.

Their power extends itself into the life of each child reading them. Books are powerful and these books are very powerful.