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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

Inspiration for lifetime learning

September 16, 2011

This September continues to be an interesting month. It started with a solemn occasion which included new memorials and remembrances for those lost on 9/11. But additionally, there are less serious celebrations and goings-on during the month.

One of my favorites is the National Book Festival sponsored by the Library of Congress. It will be held on the National Mall on September 24 and the 25th — a two-day event this year.

Our much loved National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, Katherine Paterson (who is literally a national treasure!), is among the notable authors and illustrators for young people — simply too good to miss. (If you're not in D.C., you can catch it online later.)

Meeting well known authors and illustrators inspires children and adults to read, to share ideas, and maybe even create their own. The power of story — whether in fact or fiction, orally or through books — can create a passion for lifelong learning. Many stories are ageless.

One ageless book is Ezra Jack Keats' A Snowy Day (Viking); amazingly, it will be 50 years old next year. It's a book that keeps inspiring.

And so does the Keats Foundation. The Foundation believes in the power of teachers and librarians to inspire children's passion for learning and reading and so offers mini-grants directly to them in support of programs that foster them. (Grant applications will be accepted online through March 15.)

What inspires you? How did your passion for reading and learning begin? Whatever it was or might have been, let's share it with our children.

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"A book is like a garden, carried in the pocket." — Chinese Proverb