My delight that Fair Coin has been selected as a book for classroom discussion at a Bronx middle school is moderated by sheer horror–one of the things I learned in school is that nothing takes the joy out of a book and reading more than it being assigned as homework. Still, I am honored and intrigued; from what I can tell, what recommends Fair Coin most at the moment is that none of the class has read it yet, and probably hadn’t even heard of it before this.
I don’t know about how well Fair Coin will promote literacy, but I do know how thrilling it is to discover a new book and a new author, especially at a young age, and how much books have shaped the person I am today. I also know how difficult and challenging it is for teachers to get the texts they want for their students. When I was in high school, some of my teachers actually broke the law and photocopied some books at their own expense, because there was no room in the budget for classroom copies. I just can’t believe that schools and libraries have to cut back so much on books and reading programs when developing good reading and reasoning skills is so vital to lifelong success.
I do feel conflicted about personally advertising a Donors Choose project to raise money for a teacher to buy copies of my own book, since it seems a little self-serving. But it’s also, you know, for kids. So if you do have some money you can part with to get children excited about reading and young adult literature and science fiction, I hope you’ll consider donating. Or even consider giving to another classroom for a worthy cause; I’ve given to other projects at Donors Choose to purchase needed books, and the teachers and students have always been very appreciative–and I like knowing that my gift is having a direct impact on learning.