01/06/2012 07:18 pm ET Updated Jan 27, 2012

Walter Dean Myers, National Ambassador For Young People's Literature: A Family Dinner Table Talk

This week's Family Dinner Table Talk, from HuffPost and The Family Dinner book:

There's a new reading sheriff in town. As of Tuesday, Walter Dean Myers, is the national ambassador for young people's literature, a job that requires him to tell every adult how important it is for kids to love books. Other writers have had this position, but Myers is unique; he dropped out of high school and he grew up with a father who couldn't read at all. Against the odds, he fell in love with literature, writing, and wants to spread the word.

But are people reading these days? Libraries are in crisis -- they don't have enough money to support themselves. Bookstores like Borders and Barnes & Noble have either closed or seen their sales go way down. And with a gazillion other forms of entertainment, it's getting harder to sit down away from the screen and get caught up in a book, no matter how can't-put-it-down it is.

That's why we have to make reading fun again. Lisa Belkin blogged about all kinds of ways to do it, including reading aloud (the right way), creating rituals, being open to book apps on e-readers, and understanding the difference in how boys and girls like to read. There are also several non-book ways to inspire a love of reading, like playing word games or writing messages to each other around the house. Because as any avid reader will tell you, it doesn't matter how you start reading -- only that you do.

Questions for discussion:
  • Do you have a favorite book?
  • What was the last book you read?
  • How and when do you like to read? (alone, with parents, before bedtime, etc.)
  • What’s the best memory you have of reading?

This Week's Recipe:
Each week, we give you something to talk about at dinner time, and now, something to eat too! Tonight's recipe comes to us from The Naptime Chef: Creamy Mushroom Leek Soup with Peppery Parmesan Croutons.


In her new cookbook, The Family Dinner, Laurie David talks about the importance of families making a ritual of sitting down to dinner together, and how family dinners offer a great opportunity for meaningful discussions about the day's news. "Dinner," she says, "is as much about digestible conversation as it is about delicious food."

We couldn't agree more. So HuffPost has joined with Laurie and every Friday afternoon, just in time for dinner, our editors highlight one of the most compelling news stories of the week -- stories that will spark a lively discussion among the whole family.

Click here to see last week's Family Dinner Download

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For more tips and recipes, check out The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time by Laurie David and Kirstin Uhrenholdt (