Saturday, September 26, 2009

Read A Banned Book!

It’s here – Banned Books Week, celebrated from September 26, 2009 through October. The first Banned Books Week organized by the American Library Association (ALA) was celebrated in 1982 when there was an increase in books being challenged is schools, libraries, and stores.

Censorship continues to be a serious problem in the U.S with the ALA reporting an increase in book challenges. In 2008 the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom recorded 517 challenges, up from 420 in 2007. While most challenges are unsuccessful, they are a violation of our right to free speech as guaranteed under the First Amendment and the pursuit of intellectual freedom.

What is intellectual freedom? The freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular, and is the foundation of Banned Books Week. As an author I’m celebrating Banned Books Week by reading a banned book!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Literacy Promotes Life-long Learning

In an effort to encourage reading and encourage life-long learning, the Ad Council and Library of Congress and have paired up in the public service ad campaign promoting the idea along with life-long literacy. The ad campaign encourages children to explore new worlds through reading.

Also in September, Literacy Instruction for Texas (LIFT)hosts their 2009 Champions of Literacy Luncheon on Thursday, September 17, 2009. LIFT promotes literacy among adults by offering classes, GED preparation, and family literacy classes.

Why should you care?
• Because we need a productive and growing workforce…
• Because we want our families to thrive…
• Because we want lower health care costs and more efficient health care…
• Because we want to reduce poverty and get people off of welfare…

Literacy changes lives in a very positive way. Learn more at:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

September Is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. While ovarian cancer only plays a small part in Shades of Darkness, Shades of Grace, its affect on the Pierson family is profound.

Ovarian cancer is very treatable if detected early; however because there is no reliable test, the vast majority of cases are not detected until the cancer has spread beyond the ovaries. For this reason it’s crucial that women must become familiar with the symptoms of ovarian cancer and recognize and understand those symptoms in their own bodies.

Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance and the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition provide detailed information on symptoms, detection, treatment options, etc. Symptoms are subtle but persistent, frequently increasing over time. They include:
Pelvic or abdominal pain
Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
A feeling of frequency or urgency to urinate

Other symptoms commonly reported include: fatigue, indigestion, back pain, intercourse pain, constipation, and menstrual irregularities. However, these symptoms are not as useful in identifying ovarian cancer because they are often found in women in the general population who do not have ovarian cancer.

Women should consult their physician if these symptoms persist for more than a few weeks. When ovarian cancer is diagnosed early, the 5-year survival rate is 93% so it’s important that every woman be aware of ovarian cancer and the symptoms.