#7 - On the Importance of Books
Ever heard the term "book desert?" As the term implies, it’s a location where there are few to no books, and they exist right here in the United States in high-poverty urban locations. Susan Neuman, Professor of Childhood and Literacy Education at New York University and former U.S. Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, has done significant research and work discovering these book deserts and how to alleviate them. The Atlantic magazine profiled her work in its article “Where Books Are All But Nonexistent” in 2016.
I started Celebrate Intellect because I think being “nerdy” has an image problem:
I believe that if we can change that image, we might retain some of the kids who lose interest in school due to peer pressure or extracurricular activities. But underpinning this scholastic attrition is an actual achievement gap with known causes. Kids whose lives begin without the necessary resources are exposed to fewer words and opportunities, which sets them behind their better-resourced peers when they begin school. And I’m no psychologist, but I do know how paralyzing low self-esteem can be. Children who feel already behind in school may not try as hard to catch up, fearing that they will fail and add insult to injury. So they don’t try, or they hide behind machismo and anti-intellectualism (“Math is dumb.” Or “I don’t care about that poetry BS.”). Scholastic attrition. This correlation between self-esteem and academic achievement is supported by research.
Each of these causes of scholastic attrition may be addressed by fostering a genuine love of learning when children are small, which means reducing or eliminating book deserts. Here at Celebrate Intellect, we are doing that by donating a portion of our proceeds to literacy and childhood education organizations. So with every piece of gear you buy, we give to a child in need. Buy one, give one.
Spread love and books.