"Every morning I get up and I wonder what I might learn that day. You just never know."
So, I know it's not quite 2012 yet, but I just had to share this book. It's a inspiring story about literacy and illustrates the power that words have to give experiences a voice. George Dawson, a 98 year-old man, learns to read and narrates his experiences over the last century. His co-writer, Richard Glaubman, is an elementary schoolteacher who became fascinated by Dawson's experiences. Dawson agreed to let Glaubman tell his story because it would help him pay for a new roof. Glaubman originally intended to write a children's book, but Dawson had so many experiences and so much wisdom to share that the story grew.
Dawson was 101 years old when the book was published in 2000 and his life had spanned 3 centuries. Many of the chapters begin with historical occurences and then include Dawson's memories of them. When speaking of the lynching of his teenaged friend that didn't make any of the papers, Dawson says, "I am a witness to the truth. That's why I am still here. I can't let the truth die with me." He also shares experiences of working on the levees in New Orleans, visiting Mexico and Canada, outliving four wives, and much more. This book makes me remember all of the stories out there that don't get told because someone can't read or write to tell their story.
I picked this up because it will be our Books to Action program later in January. If you are interested in more information about the program, please see the file below. I'm also linking to a video about a school named after George Dawson. Life is So Good is one story that I will be unabashedly recommending to everyone I talk to. I hope that I can approach all of my days with the same curiosity as George Dawson.