Posted on the Squeetus Blog June 07, 2006 05:01 PM PST.
When I visit schools and groups, I usually talk about how I became a writer and how to be a lifelong reader. (My publicist reminds me that I should talk about my books, and I try to remember, but I'm not very good at that.) We talk about how many books there are in the world and how to find books that are right for you, not getting stuck in a boring book for month after month. And I declare that it's scientifically impossible to read a book too young for you!
One thing I often do is take a reading pledge with the audience. I do this with everyone, elementary school age kids through adults. We all need it, in my opinion. I vary the pledge a little, depending on the audience and what I think their needs might be. I've had a few requests to post it on my site, so I'll do it here temporarily and add a reading section later. Thousands of people in the US and UK have taken this pledge. I want to clarify that when I present this pledge, I emphasize that I'm talking about books that we read on our own, the books we pick up for pleasure, not what a teacher assigns. Please don't go to your teacher claiming that Shannon Hale said you don't have to read her assigned books!
On this day, June 7, 2006, Shannon Hale, the famous and beautiful writer, told me that I never have to read a boring book again, when I'm reading for fun. If I read 15 pages or 50 pages and it's still boring, I can put it down and go find a better book. And if anyone ever tells me the book I'm reading is too young for me, just because it's a picture book, or a comic book, or it's short, or the font is too big, or it's a fantasy, or it's funny, I can tell them, You're wrong! Shannon Hale told me I can! Thank you very much.
(feel free to adapt the pledge to your own needs and reuse anyway you like)
Several people have pointed me to the Reader Bill of Rights, a great, concise list of rights we have to read in our own style and pace. It's great!