The host and creator, John Robbins, would introduce a book and some of its characters. A narrator would read portions of the book as the viewers gazed at an original illustration. Another portion from the book would be read, but this time someone would draw the scene as we listened to the reading. The narrator would stop at a “cliffhanger” moment and Robbins would encourage the audience to go find the book in the library. It worked on me, twice.
From then on, even High School couldn't kill my desire for recreational reading. College came close, but today I’m still reading—and yes, even writing my own fiction.
One would think that our school system would have learned by now that that if you can get a kid to love reading books early enough, it would almost be impossible to kill that desire by the time they were adults. I genuinely don’t believe that is the case. High School works pretty hard at killing off our readers. I don’t blame our school teachers for this anymore. I blame the teachers who teach our teachers.
Adults like me, interested in perfecting our writing for YA and children will turn to University MFA programs to perfect our writing. In 2009, few places offered such specialization. That may have changed by now, but it didn't help me then. So I did the next best thing, education classes that taught teachers how to use books written and marketed for seventh to twelfth graders.
Of course, I don’t wish to denounce classic literature. These are books that have stood the test of time, and for good reasons. Though some of them really could be retired and replaced with others. Wouldn't it be great if the Ph.d’s that keep telling our state legislators to use tired and irrelevant books would also tell those same legislators to allow more room for a schools to introduce some “new” classics?