Mr. Eggers certainly doesn't lack literary credentials. He is the author of author of (among other works) the memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and the recent highly acclaimed novel What is the What (about the "lost boys" of Sudan), as well as the founder of literary quarterly McSweeney's.
Now an inspiring story from the Los Angeles Times tells how Eggers has been doing something really good for children across the US by setting up a chain of nonprofit literacy centers. The first, 826 Valencia, opened in San Francisco's Mission District in 2002 and he has gone on to found 826 centres, set up in retail shops with colourful and inviting store front windows. There's a pirate store, a space travel supply company, a superhero supply centre and even a boring store. (Egger's prize money is going directly to the centres.)
Doesn't this sound good? :
The playfulness of the retail shops is echoed in the work of the literacy centers. In addition to standard tutoring, they emphasize creativity and storytelling. 826LA has published two books of student work, with hands-on help from Lakers Coach Phil Jackson and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. In a popular workshop, kids can make a book and take it home the same day.Hmmm ... are you thinking what I'm thinking?