I am always being stretched by the technology out there. At the moment I am learning to access podcasts. I can listen on my phone while walking on the treadmill or elliptical at the club down the road and distract myself from my body’s complaints about the distance or speed—not that either of those is the least bit impressive to anyone who isn’t used to spending her day in front of a computer.
The two “channels” that have motivated me to figure this out are Quick to Listen from Christianity Today Magazine and Rewrite Radio from Calvin College’s Festival of Faith and Writing.
You can read more about my time in Korea and unusual places to find books on International Christian Fiction Writers.
You don’t usually see stuffed animals at a funeral, at least not funerals for men in their nineties. But Keith Hunt was unique. He was famous for reading Winnie the Pooh to college students using voices. You know what I mean: Pooh’s slow voice lamenting that he hasn’t any brain, only fluff; Piglet’s high excited prattle; Eyore’s low drawn out complaints.
Most of the readers of this blog are not writers. You politely read my enthusiasm for the American Christian Fiction Writers conference last October. You cheer me on to attend Litt-World conferences of Christian writers and publishers around the world. But those conferences weren't anything you would consider attending yourself.
This conference is for you because all of you are readers.
Today for Tomorrow lesson one was about journeys—to places like Mpumulunga or Johannesburg or the one each of us makes through life. Lesson two is about dreams of where we would like to go on our life journey.
I took a stack of library books about places one might visit—Namibia, Swaziland, the Drakensburg Mountains of South Africa—and another stack about jobs and professions. It does this librarian’s heart good to see the children sitting on the steps devouring books. One girl held an armload, not wanting to give any to one of the younger boys. “He can’t read yet.”
Six hundred girls in blue cotton pinafore dresses with crisp white blouses looked up at me from the auditorium floor at Kingsridge Senior Primary School in King Williamstown, South Africa. They sat in neat rows from grade four to grade seven, while we talked about the stories they tell and the stories told to them.
“Your life is like a story,” I told the girls. “You are the main character—the star of the show!” They smiled and looked pleased. “You are not only the main character,” I went on, relying heavily on Daniel Taylor’s ideas in Tell Me a Story; the Life-shaping Power of Stories. “You are also in some ways the author. You get to decide what happens in your story.”
I first met Crystal Warren when she presented a paper on HIV&AIDS in South African children’s books at the Potchefstroom University conference on children’s literature in 2007. Although I was in the process of leaving South Africa at the time (I had literally moved out of my house, but not yet made it to the airport), I knew we were kindred spirits. When I discovered I would be traveling through Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape recently, I determined to stop and visit her and the marvelous collection at the National Literary Museum where she works.
As a librarian, I started hearing early about the death of the book. Why build library buildings when books will soon be obsolete and all our information digitized? In the early days, I think the proponents of this view imagined a shoebox of disks that would contain the knowledge of the ages. It didn’t seem to occur to them that someone would need to organize the quantity of files for research or house the equipment needed to access it.
My passion is for school-aged children, but who can resist the little ones with their wide-eyed curiosity and readiness for books and learning?
When I arrived at Tembisa Baptist Church on Wednesday, they lay on the floor in tightly packed rows looking like nothing so much as giant fleece-wrapped enchiladas. Each child was dressed in multiple layers against the Johannesburg winter and rolled in a brightly colored blanket. The floor beneath them was spread with crumbling mats of yellowed foam rubber covered with a blanket of doubtful hygiene. Here and there a canvas shoe stuck out from a bundle. A few heads raised and bright eyes stared at me. Most slept on, oblivious to the chatter of the aids who looked after them. Slowly more and more woke from their nap, and I invited them for a story. How I wish that someone would read to them every day!
LeAnne Hardy has lived in six countries on four continents. Her books come out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives.
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