When the lovely woman in light blue cardigan and Horton headpiece you see above told me that there is a "period in the summer when I just ache," I first assumed that she must be referring to the excruciating wait for the bounty of new book releases in the fall. But no. She was of course referring to the "thrill of football season." Carol Rasco, the CEO of RIF and author of the Rasco From RIF blog, may be a picture of Southern gentility and charm at first glance, but do not be fooled. There is a thinly veiled helping of aggression within this uber-achiever that can only be exercised by sports, especially her beloved Razorbacks. Or any game featuring the talents of her other loves - Peyton Manning, Tim Duncan, and David Robinson. Then there is the whole hog caller thing too. Such surprises! You should head over to her blog to get a taste of the wonder that is Carol.
But I have, as always, in my great enthusiasm here, started in the middle of the story. BBAW presented me with the opportunity to interview another book blogger, and I was more than a little happy to discover that my interview swap partner was to be the head of an organization I greatly admire, Reading Is Fundamental. Many of you may not realize that I work as a children's librarian for DC Public Schools, but that I do, and I love my job. To have the opportunity to meet and talk with someone who shares the same ideals and dreams for children that I do is always a treat, but this meeting was more than I could have hoped for. Carol came by my school at 7:20 in the morning one day last week, and I felt like I could have talked to her forever. Or picked her brain forever as I just kept writing down source suggestions and the names of other kiddie lit bloggers she enjoys. She looked at my messy back rooms with pleasure as all she saw was the books. And the possibilties. And the children that would read them.
Carol knows children's literature in not a rote and utilitarian way but in the manner of someone in love. As we discussed books, she remembered not just the stories and the positive press, but the ways in which some books feel and smell, their textures, their insights, and the ways in which they have touched children. She revealed her hopes for her new grandson, and I could imagine her reading some of these books to him.
Carol also confessed that her background in government and other policy making positions left her a step removed from the day to day reading delights that she now works amidst, but I think she is more than making up for the time away from the children's books. But please realize when you look at her blog that for all the fun you see in front of you that there is a literacy initiative at the root of this of unparalleled success. A group that has placed books in the hands of our country's neediest children for more than forty years. So please go visit Carol now, and celebrate with her all of our shared ideals this week - what it means to create and nurture a culture of readers.