A Return to Big Universe

Posted by Big Universe on Dec 19, 2012 5:29:30 PM


Literacy lights the way. (Hannah Woodard Photography)

I’ve been away from blogging for BigUniverse.com for several months due to family tragedy, and I have missed taking my daily online stroll through the virtual bookshelves of this charming educational resource.

Reading, writing and the wonderful world of children’s books are near and dear to my heart. Picture books were an integral part of my formative years and were the launching pad to chapter books, the classics, a college education, and a journalism career.

In recent months, the gift of reading and writing has come full circle. While picture books offered entertainment and knowledge to me as a little child, reading and writing have been a source of comfort following the loss of my mother this summer. Like the warm lap of my mom during my childhood, reading Psalms has brought peace to my heart as an adult. Starting a journal provided therapeutic expression through written language. Reading notes of condolence underscored the fact that I was not alone in my loss, and booklets on grief reassured me that grieving is a process.

One of the things I have done as part of that process is to read the last two novels my mother read. (She was a voracious reader!) Reading those books brought me some of the same enjoyment that she experienced. It was a little something she could still share with me.

My mom, 84, did not start out as a mass consumer of books, magazines and Internet news. She told me dozens of times how she struggled with reading when she was younger. "Back in the day," literacy intervention for at-risk readers was not as sophisticated as contemporary methods. My mother, however, was tenacious and bright. She figured out the reading thing on her own, so she never needed adult literacy services, but it’s nice to know that such help exists.

Wayne State University in Detroit just received $2.5 million to support the university's community outreach adult literacy program, according to a recent Associated Press article. The funds were a gift from Mort and Brigitte Harris to endow an adult literacy office in the Irvin D. Reid Honors College. How cool is that?

Big Universe also is a resource for readers of all ages and levels. From wordless stories, audio books and illustrated graphic tales to humorous reads, Big Universe is an education website that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. In fact, Big U currently has 478,000 members in 171 countries. Its impact encircles the globe – like the arms of a loving mother who teaches and provides for her children.

NOTE: This blog was written before the Connecticut school tragedy. Although I touched upon my personal journey through grief in this blog, the sadness of the horrific event that took place a few days ago at Sandy Hook Elementary cannot be calibrated or compared. Human words – though powerful – will never adequately explain the catalyst for this heart-wrenching event or provide all the solace needed by those affected. God alone can provide this. For those left behind, please accept my deepest sympathy and my humble prayers for your comfort, peace and resolve to carry on.

Please consider reading the 2010 blog titled “Dealing with Death through Books,” a piece that highlights books and resources for children facing grief and loss. - Suzan

Topics: Personal Experiences, Literacy

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