Jim Davidson, local public speaker and newspaper columnist, has published a new book, "My Heartfelt Passion: Saving Our Nation One Child at a Time."
In it, he relates the story of how the Conway Bookcase for Every Child Project began and he outlines the strategies that have been used to make it successful.
Davidson is passionate about the need to teach our children to read and write.
A study by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy revealed that 32 million adults in the U.S. cannot read.
One reason is that 61 percent of low-income families have no books at home for preschoolers to read.
The preschool years are a crucial time for reading development.
In 2005, Davidson spearheaded a unique literacy project in Conway that targeted preschool children who were being reared in low-income families.
The Bookcase Project Committee holds book drives every year to collect books and an annual Bookcase Banquet is held to raise funds for building bookcases.
After the bookcases are completed, an Awards Ceremony is held to present the bookcases, with a starter set of children’s books, to the children.
The Conway Bookcase Project is beginning its 14th year and is giving out 50 personalized bookcases each year to children who need them the most.
It has now been duplicated in six states.
Davidson hopes that this new book will serve as a guidebook for others to begin and maintain a bookcase project in every community in America.
It is a handbook on the do’s and don't's for launching a successful project.
“Illiteracy is a terrible problem but, believe me, we can do something about it, so our nation will be in better hands and be safer for future generations of Americans in the years to come. ‘A society becomes great when old men and women plant trees whose shade they will never sit in,’” said Davidson in the book’s Introduction.
Dr. C. Dennis Schick, a former journalism professor at four major universities before he became executive director of the Arkansas Press Association, said “There is hope, and it can be found in My Heartfelt Passion by Jim Davidson…The war against literacy is one we can definitely win.”
In the book’s Foreword, Dr. Greg Murry, Superintendent of Schools in Conway, said, “What a great advantage a child has who enters school knowing and understanding the written word, who has been in an environment where reading is emphasized, where books are present in the home, and where books are valued. Jim Davidson’s Bookcase for Every Child project does exactly that—gives kids in low-income families a centerpiece for reading—a bookshelf.”
My Heartfelt Passion: Saving our Nation one Child at a Time is available through the publisher’s website http://sbprabooks.com/JimDavidson or at www.amazon.com or www.barnesandnoble.com.