March 29, 2000
Director, Communications & Public Information
Youthful Book Reviewers to Receive Special Recognition from Lieutenant-Governor Jane Swift
BOSTON: Do you wonder sometimes what today's children think of as a heroic act, or who they look up to as heroes? You can find out on the Internet. Some 1,400 fledgling book reviewers in Massachusetts will soon be awarded certificates of recognition for their efforts in searching out and reporting on books that feature characters whom they admire: in short, their heroes.
Last fall, children throughout the Commonwealth were invited by their schools and public libraries to find and read books about people with admirable character traits and to contribute brief reviews of those books to a new Internet Web site for all the world to read. From December through February, the responses poured in and have been delightful to read. Traditional heroes, both fictional and real, are there, as well as some that might surprise you.
As a reward for their efforts, all of the children who participated in this Open Books, Find Heroes program will receive the special certificate signed by Governor Paul Cellucci. Lieutenant Governor Jane Swift will personally present the certificates to the children at a special ceremony and reception to be held in the Great Hall of the State House on Wednesday, April 5 at 10:30 a.m. All children who contributed book reviews are invited to attend.
The Open Books, Find Heroes program is an outgrowth of Governor Cellucci's Character Education Initiative, serving the double purpose of motivating children to read and focusing their attention on role models who display qualities such as courage, honesty, empathy, kindness and forgiveness. The program is cooperatively sponsored by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, the Massachusetts Department of Education, the six Massachusetts Regional Library Systems, the Massachusetts School Library Media Association and the Massachusetts Library Association.
Children pick their heroes for their courage in the face of danger - north pole explorers, the man who saves his community from a rabid dog; for protecting the weak - saving a bunny from a fire, risking one's life to get medicine for the sick; for their principles - Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King; for leading the way with new ideas - an 1800s girl changing people's minds about women's capabilities; and for their wisdom - an old (61!) Chinese mother whose love proves the wisdom of age. And, of course, many other praiseworthy qualities are highlighted by these young people, who range in age from five to the teenage years. Anyone who is seriously worried about where the younger generation is headed should surely be comforted by the ideals expressed by so many youngsters in Open Books, Find Heroes.
The Board of Library Commissioners (mass.gov/mblc) is the agency of state government with the statutory authority and responsibility to organize, develop, coordinate and improve library services throughout the Commonwealth. The Board advises municipalities and library trustees on the operation and maintenance of public libraries, including construction and renovation. It administers state and federal grant programs for libraries and promotes cooperation among all types of libraries through regional library systems and automated resource sharing. It also works to ensure that all residents of the Commonwealth, regardless of their geographic location, social or economic status, age, level of physical or intellectual ability or cultural background, have access to essential new electronic information technologies and significant electronic databases.