I arrived by satellite. Andrew Smith was there in person. We talked for hours (like, four hours) about writing and books and reading and we answered a lot of questions. This was REVOLUTION.
You have heard me talk of Kristen Pelfrey's Angel Potatoes before. You have heard me talk about REVOLUTION before, too. But yesterday was the day. An entire high school talked about books. They had a pep rally for books. They had speed dating with books. They were shown to an underground library. They got to talk to Andrew and me. There were cupcakes.
As a former adult literacy teacher whose students often lost their skills during their teen years, I can't tell you what it was like to watch this unfold. And to be a part of it. At times like this, I wish there was more money for teen literacy. I wish there was more understanding about contemporary young adult literature and how it can draw in new readers without condescending to them. I have a lot of wishes. I won't list them all here.
But remember Spencer? The letter writer from earlier this year? He was there. He wore a toga in honor of Ask the Passengers (and, essentially, Socrates.) Wish I had a picture of that to share, but I don't. What I do have is a feeling that yesterday I was given a gift. I hope one day the REVOLUTION can be televised--shared throughout high schools all over the country. Because teen literacy is important. Because switching off for a half hour a day is important for all of us. Because reading is a door to responsible adulthood. Because it was a hell of a lot of fun, too.
Here's an article about the event.
Here's Andrew Smith's blog about the day.
Thank you Kristen, teachers of Foothills Technology High School, and students of FTHS, especially the Generals, and especially Spencer-in-the-toga. You made the world a better place yesterday. I'm so glad you allowed me to be part of that.