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Kate DiCamillo, author of Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tale of Despereaux, talks about her new job as national ambassador for young people's literature and the fight to keep reading alive in an age of competing entertainment.
I am so glad I came across this interview tonight. I am an upper elementary school teacher who loves Kate DiCamillo's stories. Her books are among some of the best written chapter books out there. One of the earlier posts mentioned that they preferred real stories to fiction. Ms. DiCamillo's stories, especially Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tiger Rising, give their readers a sense of real life. I was disappointed that Brian seemed to stumble over the titles of her books during his first question. I don't know if he was distracted or not to make that gaffe, but he also seemed generally surprised at the number of calls she was receiving. I really recommend that Brian read The Tiger Rising - it won't take long, it is a children's chapter book. I believe he'd see why Kate DiCamillo gets the response she does, as well as the honor of this Ambassadorship. Imagine the response Kate would have had if this segment took place over the recent school break!
My 14 year old son has moved on from the fantasy, sci fi genre of teens overcoming a dysfunctional world to theoretical physics. Neil deGrasse Tyson U-tube clips sucked him in. Ted Talks furthered his interest. Then he started buying books on theoretical physics. He discovered that MIT offers a "Splash" weekend for high school students to take classes for a mere $40. Maybe something penetrated his brain when he was 2 years old and I used to roam the Museum of Natural History on cold days like today to keep myself from going nuts in our small apartment. He must have watched that five minute black hole movie at least 1000 times.
I guess you could say that the "competing entertainment" encouraged him to read nonfiction.
Enjoyed your interview with kate DiCamillo but it was entirely too short. So many callers would probably agree with me.
I almost never read fiction, and preferred histories, biographies, and other works of non-fiction. I always felt that real life stories were more interesting and even wondrous than most works of fiction. I still prefer movies and games that touch on real events in some way for the most part. I'm a big fan of documentaries. I don't see the point of fiction from which little real information can be gleamed.
I used to read a lot; I barely read books today at all. I think reading is a good skill, but for thousands of years, most people could not read at all. Most information was transmitted verbally. Today, the ubiquity of graphical information, in the form of moving pictures and video games will not obviate the necessity for this skill and means of entertainment, but virtual reality will predominate.You don't need to read the Life Of Lincoln. You can watch many movies and documentaries about Lincoln. In the western, the first book that most people learned to read was the Bible, which was first book most people could afford to buy. And it often became a family heirloom. Then as publishing became cheaper yet, we have the birth of 18th and 19th century long novels which was what families had for entertainment at night, as someone in the family read from them to the rest of the family. But the dawn of the 20th century, it was the moving pictures (movies or cinema) that became the most popular media form. And soon video games will play that role. We are the dawn of age of virtual reality.
After kids have aged out of these books, say 14-16 year old boys. There seems to be a total dearth of books for this audience. Where are the books for, as my son says, kids from happy families? Not Sherman Alexi type books, but more like, "The Name of the Wind."? Thanks so much for any help you can give. So many boys read for hours, and can now find nothing they love.
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Brian Lehrer leads the conversation about what matters most now in local and national politics, our own communities and our lives.
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