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Reader(s) of the Week!

Dear Mr. Neri-

I recently began turoring a developmentally disabled 50+ yr old African-American man in Berkeley through a library literacy program. Plodding through dull workbooks, supposedly "relevant" to adult life, etc. Finally, seeing little progress and little joy after several weeks, I asked him what he was interested in. Frankly, I thought he would name a sport.

"I like chess" he said.  He says he is teaching himself.Really? We took a field trip to the YA stacks and found Chess Rumble on the shelf. His eyes lit up.

So we are reading it together-first I read a few pages, we talk about the characters, family, anger--then he reads the same pages. He struggles, but he is incredibly motivated. His face lights up. He chuckles. He asks questions. It is slow going, but Reginald is inspired. So am I.

Maybe it was not what you intended-to create a story for a middle-aged White lady and her middle-aged black student to enjoy together in the back corner of a computer classroom. But you should know; had the hanky out today while reading (and finishing) the story... This book has changed the whole dynamic of our lessons. Bravo!

-Vicky Friedman