The Importance of Literacy (Plus a New Quest for Young Heroes!)

by | Mar 15, 2022 | Blog, Creativity, For Young Heroes, Heroes, Inspiration, On Reading, Quests

I may be a little biased, but I believe that storytelling is one of the single most consequential talents we humans have — something unique that sets us apart from all the other creatures of this world, while bringing us together as a species. Reading, writing, storytelling… these are all vehicles for ideas. Sometimes very big ideas, with the magnitude to remake our lives. 

As an author, writing allows me to explore — wherever and whatever I choose. It’s taken me back in time, to a distant galaxy, to the place where the sea begins, and to the origins of Merlin and Atlantis. Best of all, though, writing has been a way to explore life’s biggest questions. Not to find the answers, perhaps, but to do some thoughtful exploring of the questions. The two best parts of the experience are, first, when a word or character or place or idea comes out just right — and, second, when something I’ve written touches someone in a meaningful way. And I’m always amazed and humbled by how much stories can mean to people!  Believe me, over the years, I’ve been given some truly amazing letters, comments, paintings, sculptures, music, theatrical productions, and even clothing from fans all around the world—not to mention some loving hugs—so I feel very lucky indeed to be a storyteller.

A fantasy ship sailing in the sky with  clouds and a moonOftentimes, I feel that my stories are like little boats that I spend time crafting until they’re finally shipworthy and ready to sail. Then I lovingly set them free upon the great ocean that connects all people across distances, cultures, languages, and times. My “story boats” sail away to have their own journeys and adventures, touching the lives of people on faraway shores, people I will probably never meet. And though I don’t always know where those boats have landed, I trust that they have brought something meaningful in their holds — a new idea, perhaps, or a good reason for hope, or a small source of inspiration.

Because, the truth is, a writer is nothing without readers. After I construct a story, I send my words out into the world, but it is only after the connection of reader and writer that the experience of a shared story can occur. After all, a storyteller without an audience is nothing but someone talking to themselves!

My newest Quest for Young Heroes involves literacy which, contrary to popular belief, isn’t about learning to read. Rather, literacy is more about becoming a successful reader — one who can use words to create a story, understand another’s thoughts, and, if they so choose, become someone who also creates stories for others. I invite you to click the photo to download this newest Quest and share your love of reading with others!

Early Literacy: Building a Solid Foundation

This quest will take you on a learning adventure to discover the importance of early literacy, as well as help you discover ways you can be a young hero by promoting literacy through your own actions. It is my greatest goal to inspire young heroes to take action toward causes in which they believe!

My national award, The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes — awarded to public-spirited kids from every background who have done outstanding service work for people and the planet — is all about turning the spotlight on young people who are changing the world through their actions. Why? So their stories, inspiring examples of how one person can make a positive difference, can be shared by others.

One of these inspiring young heroes, Sascha Pakravan, has been making strides toward promoting educational equity and providing reading resources that are accessible to all Hawaiians. Passionate about cultivating literacy across Hawaii, Sascha has professionally recorded and posted on his nonprofit’s website nearly 80 free videos of him and his sister reading well-loved children’s books aloud. I encourage you to continue your Quest beyond the worksheet above and learn more about what other young heroes are doing to promote literacy by visiting

Visit the Quests section of my blog for more quests to complete on your journey to becoming an inspiring young hero!