Julia Martin has been a witty and erudite presence in my corner of the blogosphere for several years now, first simply as a commenter on other people’s blogs and eventually at a site of her own, Clumps and Voids. But I wanted to talk to her about her day job as executive director of Bread for the Head, whose mission is to provide books to low-income children in the Chicago area and try to convert them into life-long readers. This is Banned Books Week in the United States as well as National Literacy Month, but outright banning isn’t the only thing keeping books out of the hands of children, and all too often literacy programs fail to inculcate a love of reading. Bread for the Head, which Julia founded five years ago, takes the radical position that, as their mission states, “pleasure reading is no indulgence, but a necessity.”
If you don’t have time to listen to the podcast right away, at the end of it, Julia asks listeners to share the titles of their own favorite books for children (which don’t have to be children’s books per se). Please use the comments below, or contact Julia directly: juliaannmartin at gmail dot com. And of course if you live in the Chicago area, Bread for the Head can always use more volunteers.
Theme music: “Le grand sequoia,” by Innvivo (Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike licence)