I was really excited today when Lavar Burton launched a kickstarter to start up the TV show Reading Rainbow again. So was everyone else, apparently: It raised 1.2 million dollars (surpassing its goal of one million) in less than 24 hours. By the time this blog entry goes up it'll be a lot more than that.
I confess, I didn't watch a whole lot of Reading Rainbow when I was a kid. I did read a lot of books (and there will always been a special place in my heart for the likes of Patricia C. Wrede, Jane Yolen, The Hardy Boys, Choose Your Own Adventure novels, and so many others that filled my childhood imagination), but when it came to TV, I was more interested in cartoons.
It wasn't until I was an adult that I really started to appreciate what Reading Rainbow did for children. As a parent and a teacher, I know anything that can get a child to pick up a book is a good and (sometimes) rare thing.
In a day and age when so many people like to panic over the future of books and put them on the endangered species list of forgotten media, this is a good sign. I must confess I don't like audio books or e-books that much. I'm glad they exist, I think they're good for the industry and good for authors and good for readers, but give me the choice, and I'll take a good old fashioned paperback any day. I like the weight of it. I like the smell. I like having my eyes in front of something that isn't a screen.
So thank you, Mr. Burton, for doing good things for the future of books.