Sunday, May 23, 2010

If You Let Me Read...

There are few companies better at stirring (and capitalizing on) the spirit than Nike. Regardless of what you think of the company itself, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that their ads are almost always very good and are frequently just plain amazing.

The “If you let me play” ad aired in 1995. Fifteen years later, not only can still I remember it but watching it again (thanks YouTube) made me want to haul on my sneakers and dig out my tennis racquet (the only piece of sporting equipment I own, purchased when a friend and I foolishly thought that we’d actually take up tennis if we took the first step and bought racquets and bouncy green balls).

Yes, I do have a point. Please stop pointing at your watch. I’m a writer. We sometimes ramble. We occasionally like to set the scene with details from our own lives. I know my life isn’t that exciting but, if you’ll just humour me—what was that? Oh! Right! The point!

I went to a kid’s birthday party yesterday and books were a popular gift (even though said kid can’t yet say the word “book”). And I started thinking about that Nike ad. About how my life has been better because my parents encouraged me to read. About how early books like The Paper Bag Princess and The Velveteen Rabbit taught me that I don’t have to marry the handsome prince just because he has a nice castle and how real is more important than fake. And about how reading thousands of books has made me a better writer.

And I thought it’d be fantabulous if we made our own virtual “If you encourage me to read...” ad in the comments. If reading has changed you for the better, if you think it has the power to change others, please leave a comment telling us how. Or, even better, blog or tweet about it. All books. Any books. One book.


Jamie B said...

The first book I fell in love with when I was maybe 5 was The Littlest Witch by Jeanne Massey:
On her first Hallowe'en as a witch, Littlest Witch misplaces her broom, arrives late at the witches' circle and uses all her magic to help instead of haunt, those whom she encounters during the evening. Although she does not participate in the annual race to the moon, Littlest Witch has her own adventures, and ends up with a very special prize. The other witches in the witches' circle finally, grudgingly, accept that Littlest Witch is a "good witch."

There aren't any pictures of the cover that I remember online, but here's the amazon link. It's out of print, having come out before I was born:

I would borrow this from the library and renew it every two weeks. There was another one that I did the same thing with, but I can't remember the name of it. I'll blog about it if I do.

If anyone wants to tip off my husband that this vintage hardback would be a great Christmas gift...LOL

Erinn said...

I love this idea, in fact I might but my 8th graders to work on making an ad campaign in the last few days of school.

Debra Driza said...

I used to always get books for my birthday, especially in middle school---I guess everyone knew I was a huge reader. And I love the idea of having a "If you let me read" ad! :)

Kathleen said...

Jamie: I've never heard of that book and am feeling like I totally missed out.

Erinn: Would love to know if you end up doing it with your class and how it goes!

Deb: Same here. I had insane amounts of books.

Brenda said...

I have a 5-year-old who's (sort of) learning to read, but being read to is one of his favorite things ever. I'm hoping that when he gets old enough to choose, he'll remember the time when books made all of his tears go away as he lost himself in the story and a cuddle.