I just have to share excerpts from Katherine Paterson’s speech, found in the last issue of Publisher’s Weekly.
Paterson’s ambassadorial platform is ““read for your life.” With books, she said, kids (and adults) use their “powers of intellect imagination” and experience “delight.” Stories also teach children about people from other religions, races, and countries, said Paterson, who spent the first three years of her life living in China with her missionary parents. “Books help us make friends who are different from ourselves.”
It bothered Paterson when she heard a librarian say she didn’t buy any Virginia Hamilton books because no black children attended her school. “That’s the very reason you should be buying Virginia Hamilton’s books,” she said. “Because your kids don’t have an opportunity to have friends who are African-American, they should be making those friends in books. Same thing with religion.” Jimmy Carter said becoming friends with Anwar Sadat was the most important thing that happened to him as president, she added. “Neither was trying to convert the other. I love the fact that we might be able to do that in this country—that we might be able to learn to understand each other…. The more we know about each other, the better.””