28 March 2013

I write a lot about reading in this blog, I’ve discovered. I’ve mentioned the Bookmobile and what joy it gave my sister and me when we were growing up to be able to walk without adult supervision the few blocks from our house to where it parked and pick out our own books to read. 

It gave us such a sense of independence. We got to choose which books we wanted to read, not some librarian or other adult. I still remember the Bookmobile was a weird turquoise and it looked old and smelled funny but it was filled with magic and possibilities because there were books inside. It probably only held about 1000 books, but I loved pulling a book off the shelf and deliberating if I’d take that one home or select another one. When I think about it, I have a full sense memory of standing in the bookmobile, overwhelmed with possibilities and aglow with what I may discover next.

Tonight was my monthly book club. For the first time, everyone really, truly loved the book. I wrote about it a few weeks ago:  this month’s selection was “The Fault In Our Stars” by John Green. Since I finished it, Shailene Woodley has been cast as the lead in the film version. I’m glad I didn’t know that when I read the book because she is not at all how I imagined the lead. At. All... I think she’s a fine actress, but I was disappointed when I’d heard she got the part. Hazel needs to be played by a younger Mae Whitman-type.  See, it’s only a book, but it really matters to me how this one translates to the screen, because, even though I just wrote the first part of this sentence,  I don’t believe a great read is ever “only a book.” It’s something way more special than that. It’s a gateway to another world; to a world you have no other way of experiencing other than by turning the page. You are never alone if you have a good book with you. 

I had no idea what charity to give to today and then one of my fellow book club members suggested Centro Latino for Literary. Founded in 1991, Centro Latino addressed a critical need among the Los Angeles Latino community: the ability to read and write in their own language. Centro Latino teaches non-literate adult Spanish speakers how to read and write in Spanish, which then gives them the confidence to learn how to do so in English.  In 20 years, Centro Latino has expanded greatly to now teach Pre-ESL literacy skills, math, grammar, and job readiness skills. 

March 28: Centro Latino

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