While I love to read, I am hesitant to get on the whole "Reading is GOOD FOR YOU" train sometimes. Not because it isn't, but because that's not what I personally love about it. Reading is this wonderful thrilling subversive ride you can take, and I feel like sometimes it gets misclassified as medicinal and…it just feels wrong.
But even as I believe that, I know, too, that it actually IS good for you. It has the power to transform lives. It can change a person's trajectory. It is one of the few things I know of that can catapult someone out of the cycle of poverty, it can make people safer and more powerful. It can change a person's whole life. As it does in this amazing story from Nicholas Kristof, which you can find here. I really must insist that you read it, I think.
That story makes me remember so many important things: lurid book covers are wonderful. Letting kids wander in libraries is wonderful. The impulse toward compassion rather than punishment is wonderful, and has the ability—just like reading does—to change a person's life.
So go, read that story, and maybe tear up a little, and try to bring those things to our own lives and schools: books, compassion, forgiveness. It's not all demagoguery and resentment and fear out there, there are all these people in the world trying to help one another. If we could just get out of their way and let them do their work, that would be so very excellent.