Kinda had to take a break from OctOgreFest for some other blogging duties this month… but I found something was worth ending the hiatus for.
Some of my admittedly few readers may have asked, where did the name The Hungry Reader come from? It wasn’t my original choice: in the year or so that I daydreamed about this blog before starting it, I was calling it “Dandelion Library,” after a series of books with a unique two-in-one structure. Eventually that title was abandoned, it sounded a little wimpy. I’d like to think that The Hungry Reader is a bit sharper-edged than that, despite my vague attempt to keep the articles clean enough for you to share with kids who may be reading these books for the first time.
Then the name “The Hungry Reader” struck me out of nowhere like a lawn dart to the center of memory.
Everybuggy who’s anybuggy has heard of Cricket Magazine. If you were a kid with a taste for literature in the last 30 years, you’ve probably either had a subscription or read copies in one of your classrooms. The late Lloyd Alexander, an accomplished author best known for his Chronicles of Prydain series (which are themselves best known for inspiring Disney’s least successful feature), was an important player in the creation of Cricket, and a contributor of words and art until his death in 2007.
1989 was the “Year of the Young Reader,” or at least it was heralded as so in the pages of Cricket. I never heard anything about it outside of the magazine… did anyone participate in something related to this in school? Either way, in April of 89, Cricket ran a contest in celebration, the winners of which would receive full Encyclopedia Brittanica sets (YEE-HAW!) and a trip to Washington D.C. to visit the museums. It was an essay contest: write 350 words about how books have changed your life. Lloyd Alexander was the judge of this contest, but just to demonstrate his qualifications, he wrote an entry of his own.
His essay was called, “A Hungry Reader”.
Usually I just clip out a few paragraphs to comment on, but this is a special case. With apologies to Cricket and much respect to Mr. Alexander, I’m reposting the entire essay here, complete with buggy cartoons by Jean Gralley.
Thanks for the inspiration, Lloyd.