I first became involved with Kids Need to read when I followed a google alert to their website where they had just purchased 100 copies of The Snow Leopard. Looking into their organisation further I decided to see if there was anything I could do to help and one thing led to another until they began to produce a calendar every year to raise money for their cause.
The first year I painted the White Dragon, gave them the artwork as well as the rights for repro. In following years I donated the use of the image for the calendar, to make cards and also prints, but kept the artwork, which is for sale at the House of Golden Dreams.
This weekend I finished the new piece for the 2015 calendar, ‘This is the Place Where Reading Takes Me’.
Well, I say finished. Still fiddling with it, and this years somehow was a lot harder than before.
Now the artwork for The White Dragon is being offered for sale to raise much needed money for the cause. If you like the images and cannot afford the original really good prints are available from KNTR at $55 and they ship world wide. Prints of the elephant will also be available and I am pretty sure the Book Monkey is going to feature in more things.
Why did I get involved with Kids Need to Read? Because I believe that reading is one of the most important skills a person can have in this world. I believe that reading and writing help to establish ways of organising thought, empowering people and giving a voice to those who might otherwise have none. I believe that reading can enrich a life in so many ways, not just by enabling a literate person to get work in a literate society, but by giving them a facility to learn, and a skill that can add beauty to their lives.
I learned to read. It changed my life. The sad thing is that there will be many people who aren’t reading this because they can’t. 20% of the population of the UK are functionally illiterate. It’s not good enough. In the USA it is 25% of children, leaving school with low levels of literacy. Illiteracy is closely linked with poverty and with crime.
People who cannot read are not stupid. Sometimes they have been let down by a school system, sometimes by upbringing, living in chaotic homes that make even attending school difficult. Illiteracy is often passed down through families. Why? Sometimes neural problems that remain hidden make learning to read so very difficult. But people who cannot read are usually ignored by people like us who can.
Kids Need to Read try to make a difference. I guess that is why I decided to try to help them.
This is what the next one looks like now that it is finished: