Creating Room To Read:
A Story of Hope in the Battle for Global Literacy
By John Wood
Published by Viking/Penguin, February 7th, 2013
I had not read John Wood's first book about how he made a deliberate decision to leave his high-powered job with Microsoft to follow his dream of helping children in some of the remotest and poorest parts of the world to become literate, and I simply jumped at the chance to read and review this second book following his adventures around the world with his organisation called "Room To Read".
Born into a family which cherished literacy and surrounded by books from his earliest days, he was encouraged to follow his dream by his parents and by people who supported his ambition. Help came - and continues to come - from some of the most unlikely places and people, and this is a remarkable book about a truly remarkable man who travels to, negotiates with, donates to and encourages communities to cherish learning, value literacy and schooling and foster a real and abiding sense of ownership and pride in educating their children. We follow him through the trials and tribulations of his current projects and share his delights and frustrations when he meets with successes and hitches. It is awe-inspiring to think that because of his efforts, thousands of villages now have libraries and schoolrooms - he is indeed a modern-day Andrew Carnegie.
It puts the attitude of many Western countries about education and literacy to shame, and brings home that our children have opportunities that are unthinkable and almost unattainable to children in so many parts of the world, yet many Western children disdain both school and education. Perhaps some of our disaffected youth should be sent to poorer countries to see for themselves how much they are taking for granted and to have the chance to help those so much worse off than themselves.
One person can make an enormous difference, and the fact that John Wood is a successful man has enabled him to make even more of a difference, but that does not mean we should not all be trying to make positive differences both in our local and global community. An inspiring book!