Sunday, July 12, 2015

Literacy – Spanning the US: Evansville IN :: Waterville ME :: Berkeley CA

Central Maine: 6.07.2015 by Amy Calder

At the Bay Area Book Festival recently a panel of adult learners shared their journey of reading a book that impacted their lives. Michael, an adult learner, was inspired for the first time by a book: “It’s never too late to learn… that’s what I learned from this book. All people who are scared to read need to give themselves a chance.” Many thanks to the Berkeley Public Library for this!
The Struggle for Literacy, the Need for Booze, the Bay Area Book Festival
Pop Matters: 6.22.2015 by Diane Leach

I would buy no books.

As the Bay Area Rapid Transit escalator carried me upward, toward the first annual Bay Area Book Festival (6th and 7th, June), I repeated my new mantra. I would buy no books.

I would wander the streets lined with booksellers and listen to author panels.I would eavesdrop in ladies’ rooms and eat mediocre street truck fare. I would see An Evening With Judy Blume.

But I would buy no books.  Our small home is awash in books, any semblance of order long forgotten. The bookshelves need bookshelves.

Steeling myself, I began walking.

Five city streets were given over to booksellers and publishers, who were grouped by topic: Literary Lane, Radical Row, Writer’s Row, Eco Alley, and Mind and Body Blvd.  At Civic Center Park, the Lacuna, a circular installation of 50,000 free books, gradually came down as people made their selections.

The Festival offered free author panels and readings in venues around the city. As the San Francisco Bay Area is filled with writers, the difficulty lay in narrowing down who to see. Too often wonderful writers were scheduled simultaneously, forcing tough decisions. Michelle Tea or Maxine Hong Kingston? Ayelet Waldman and Michael Chabon or Jane Hirschfield? This speaks not to poor scheduling, but the wealth of Bay Area talent.

Next, the Bay Area Literacy Panel. There, six adults described the hurdles each had only recently overcome to attain literacy. An East African woman held up a biography of Michael Jackson. Like the singer, she had abusive father who interfered with her education. Her voice breaking, she described being beaten, forced to work, and running away from home—at age seven. Now a mother herself, she told the audience her children’s lives would be better than hers. “I put them in school. I make them play.”  READ MORE !

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