This week a friend alerted me to an article about the power of reading—and helping kids understand that reading is power.
The theme of the 2010 summer reading program at the Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin, IL, was superheroes. The library rented and supplemented a superhero exhibit from the Elmhurst Historical Museum and the results were staggering.
For starters, 226,000 people passed through the exhibit in just a few months. In 2009, the library said, 4,935 young people signed up for its summer reading program. (That figure alone—even in a larger community—is higher than what I would’ve guessed.) In 2010, with capes and masks involved, that number rose to 6,265. When Spider-Man showed up (announced) at the library, so did 900 kids who wanted a photo with him.
Even though summer is about to wrap up, the power of reading never dies, so I contacted the library to ask if they had known about Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman.
An ebullient librarian responded almost immediately and reported that they did indeed and had included the book in their noble, successful campaign. There is an untold number of picture books about superheroes, but mine is the only one that is nonfiction. I was curious if it could compete with more flashy shelfmates.
The librarian said their five copies of Boys of Steel circulated 40-50 times during the summer. I don’t know if she means total or apiece, and I don’t know how well any other titles circulated, but in any case, I’m happy.