I have a suggestion for our First Lady. She should consider starting a book club for young readers.
Michelle Obama is the person to start a book club because she is an inspiring role model for young people. Look at all the praise we shower upon her for incidental things, like her arms. Wouldn't it be great if we could show our admiration for something meaningful, like her taste in books? As a mom with two daughters, Michelle Obama also has a vested interest in what children and young adults today are reading.
The act of losing oneself in a good book can be a deeply empowering experience for a girl. When discussing their formative influences, both Sonia Sotomayor and Sandra Day O'Connor have mentioned the positive affect Nancy Drew had on their lives. And if Nancy Drew, who never got paid for any of her work and never seemed to attend school, can become an icon for powerful, learned women, think of the affect today's heroines could have.
There are some wonderful, well-known children's and young adult authors out there, but there are also many, many more that still need to be discovered. Michelle Obama has a unique opportunity to help these unknown, talented writers find the readerships they deserve.
Given the chance, I think anyone in the publishing industry would trip over themselves to help the First Lady with this venture, but maybe she should begin by inviting a handful of booksellers and librarians to dinner. These are people who recommend books for a living, and they are worth listening to.
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