Commentary: Give the gift of reading to help a child ‘live life unleashed’

The book cover for the first edition of “If Beale Street Could Talk” is shown.

Commentary: Give the gift of reading to help a child ‘live life unleashed’
December 20
03:10 2018

By Donna Rogers

I want to tell you a story about a little girl who grew up in Columbia, South Carolina. Her father subscribed to the two daily newspapers in the city and she practically lived in the public library, reading and studying all she could.

OK, full disclosure: The girl is me.

Growing up, I remember the phrase “Reading is fundamental.” Now I find out that there is an organization called that. Reading Is Fundamental says it’s “committed to a literate America by inspiring a passion for reading among all children, providing quality content to make an impact and engaging communities in the solution to give every child the fundamentals for success.”

The following comes from Reading is Fundamental’s website, “This holiday season, you can spark a passion for reading in kids and give them the literacy skills they need to live life unleashed.”

The organization took the words right out of my mouth. I suggest we give books this season for our special holidays that involve gift-giving.

We know plenty of authors who have written books, some for children, such as Barack Obama. Bookmarks in Winston-Salem held special sessions for children’s authors at its festival in September.

But we shouldn’t forget “big kids.” Teens, young adults and adults all need to read, too.

Don’t forget what The Chronicle reported in November: “The Forsyth County Central Library on Fifth Street hosted its first authors’ event in five years on Saturday, Nov. 10. According to Lara Luck, the Collection Development Manager and event organizer, there were 25 authors in attendance and several authors had to be turned away due to lack of space.” Books are easy to find to give.

I am excited to see that a movie is in theaters now about a book I read as a teenager. “If Beale Street Could Talk,” is a novel by James Baldwin. I remember being captivated by it. Imagine a book published in 1974 is being made into a movie in 2018. That is a book worth reading, the way I see it.

“If Beale Street Could Talk” is a love story set in Harlem in the early 1970s. The title is a reference to the 1916 W.C. Handy blues song “Beale Street Blues.” W.C. Handy, Father of the Blues, sung about that street because Beale Street, in Memphis, Tennessee, is Home of the Blues and is called “America’s Most Iconic Street.”

I have been a journalist since seventh grade. I was editor of my school newspaper in middle school. I was editor of my school paper in high school. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in journalism. My first job out of college was working for a daily newspaper as a copy editor. I have been in the journalism business for more than three decades, and I think the best is yet to come.

What dreams do our children have that are not being fulfilled? Give them books to read, and then see what they can do!

Donna Rogers is managing editor of The Chronicle.

About Author

WS Chronicle

WS Chronicle

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors