Many have called Newark’s Mayor Cory Booker superman after he ran into a burning building to save his neighbor, but many are unaware of the changes he is attempting to inspire in his city’s youth

Last week, Mayor Booker spoke with a group of Newark’s schoolchildren to convey to them the importance of reading. Newark is also gearing up to welcome the famed Harlem Book Festival to the city to promote reading, something Mayor Booker holds near and dear to his heart.

Mayor Booker, who is a staunch proponent of education, likened the lack of literacy in Newark to the modern-day slave trade and urged families to turn off their TVs and pick up books.

“I can’t go into another home and see TVs that run almost like background noise, constantly 24 hours a day and look around and not see a book,” said Booker. “There is a sin about that, that we have not created a culture in our community of literacy.”

Mayor Booker’s mission, to inspire more children in his community to read, is an imperative task. Students who struggle with reading set themselves up for failure, and even prison.

Although Mayor Booker and others in his city have an admirable goal, they cannot close the literacy gap alone.

Sharing your favorite books, inspiring children to read, giving children books they will love (not necessarily books we love), and stressing the importance of reading to young people may just inspire a life-long love of learning in our youth.

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