Rachel DeWoskin

Rachel DeWoskin: "We need centers of communcation and learning and reading"

"They had every possible book, and they had in them beautiful, thoughtful people guiding me toward books that would matter to me, particularly. "

Well my favorite memories of the library are in incredibly hot summer afternoons in Ann Arbor, where I was a little kid, lying on the library floor and reading book after book after after book with my Mom next to me and I read "Harriet the Spy" that way and I read "Pippi Longstocking" that way and later I read "Marjorie Morningstar" that way,r
exactly what those books looked and smelled and felt like in the Ann Arbor Public Library, now the Ann Arbor  my books, which was like a thrilling childhood dream come true.

Libraries fostered my love of reading because they were places I loved to go out and they had every possible book and they had in them beautiful, thoughtful people guiding me toward books that would matter to me particularly. And the librarians at the Ann Arbor Public Library when I was a kid, did a very good job picking for me. And my parents also helped that way, as well, of course.

Well, my school librarian, when I was little kid, her name was Miss Wiler (spelling?). I based a teacher in my book "Big Girl Small" on her because she was so loving and caring and she used to read us the first few pages of a book and then we would all be so inspired to read it that we would fight savagely ever who got take out of the library that week.

And my daughters, who go to Chicago's Nettelhorst Public School love their library teacher, Miss Kupec, and they talk, every time they have library class, that's the rose of their day.

At night when we play Roses and Thorns, the rose of your day is the best thing that happened all day, it's invariably that they have my request that Miss Kupec.

I use it for research. In fact many of the books I used and read for "Big Girl Small" I checked out of the New York Public Library, because I was living in Manhattan at the time. I would order the books online and then they would be waiting, half a block away. I read dozens and dozens of books.

And I use the Chicago Public Library to take my kids. It's right around the corner from their school. And we go there after school and we sit and we create huge stacks of delicious books and then we just burned through them.

[On budget cuts] I think it's deeply disturbing. I think schools and libraries and art programs and poetry projects should be funded in America. I think it's unequivocal and obvious that we need centers of communication and learning and reading that are free for kids and free for grownups.

[On censorship] I have a bracelet, an "I read banned books bracelet," which just broke because I wore it every day and finally the elastic that held the banned books together snapped and I'm having it restrung. I think obviously banning books is a ludicrous and antique way of stopping communication and communication between people is essential if we're going to move forward as a society.

My latest project is actually a YA book. It's called "Blind." And it's about a teenager who loses her eyesight in an accident and has to reimagine how she's going to make sense of the world. How she's going to see, and how she's going to talk about what she sees, and how she's going to grow up without the sight she was used to. It's called "Blind."

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