The persistent drumbeat in this country pounds the important message that every child needs a computer. No argument from me there. The digital world isn’t the world of the future. It’s the world of the present. Any kid without computer access might as well be using hieroglyphics to communicate.
Having said that, I am still tickled that students at six Philadelphia schools will soon be the delighted owners of 2500 dictionaries, atlases and thesauri (don’t you love that plural form of the word?). The books are being distributed over the next three weeks, courtesy of the Rotary Club of Philadelphia. The first batch will be delivered today to kids at The Taylor School in North Philly.
Nothing against the instant gratification of clicking through websites for Merriam-Webster and World Atlas. But nothing beats the satisfying spine-crack of a brand-new book, or the oddly clean smell of fresh ink.
Scroll through dictionary or geography websites, and you get a sense of the breadth of our language and our world. Heft a heavy dictionary or altas off a bookshelf, though, and you actually feel their scope. Kids are tactile creatures. They’re gonna love these things.