Saturday, January 24, 2009

Thanks, And Have Fun Running The Country, Part 2

McSweeney's has posted a short video of some of the kids from 826 National reading a few of their letters to President Obama.

If only we could listen to these kids, the world would be a much better place.

All proceeds from the purchase of this book benefit 826 National. So buy the book. It's for the kids.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Thanks, and Have Fun Running The Country

One of my favorite extracurricular activities is being a writing tutor at an amazing place called 826 Valencia. 826 Valencia is one of 7 826 tutoring centers around the country, all dedicated to supporting children ages 6 -18 with their writing skills. Students, mostly from low income areas, come in after school for help on their homework and personal writing projects.

Recently, the students at all 826 locations were given the task of writing a letter to our newly elected President Barak Obama. These letters, together with drawings of our new Pres have been compiled by the tireless Jory John, Program Director for 826, into "Thanks, and Have Fun Running The Country: Kids Letters To President Obama".

I've said it before, and I will say it again: It will never cease to amaze me just how brilliant these kids are. I don't get to hang out with the younger students, my time is spent working with the high school kids. Nevertheless, it is an amazing opportunity to work with these students and see the world through their eyes.

The collection of letters is humorous, charming, and even a little heartbreaking. For a glimps at what is truly important as our country begins this new chapter, look to the children.

"Thanks, and Have Fun Running The Country: Kids Letters To President Obama" is available online through the McSweeney's Store.

An Excerpt: "To President Obama, If I were president, I would help the people. If we don't throw the trash away, we are going to get sick. I could walk around and check where there is trash. From, Kenia Zelaya, Age 6, Los Angeles."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Happy 200th Birthday, Edgar Allan Poe

Master of the Gothic story and the inventor of the mystery-suspense genre Edgar Allan Poe celebrates his 200th Birthday today. While his life was short and tragic, the contributions Poe made to American literature are immeasurable. So take a moment this evening, in the still quite dark to read a page or two of your favorite Poe story or poem. Allow yourself to be frightened, even for just a few moments. Consider what an amazing talent Poe was. My favorite? The Tell Tale Heart.

For more info on the celebrations of Poe's bicentennial, visit these links:
The Baltimore Sun
Eerie After All These Years
Poe Bicentennial Project

Quoth the raven, Nevermore!