Today, Amanda was quoted in a New York Times article about children's reading habits. Rather, I should say she was terribly misquoted by a reporter with an agenda who completely took her remarks out of context. Basically, the article makes Amanda look like a pushy mother who won't let her seven-year-old son read picture books, that she's FORCING him to read chapter books against his will, as if that will somehow make him smarter, which could not be farther from the truth.
As well as being a great writer and insightful book blogger, Amanda is a great mom who would do anything to encourage literacy for her three sons. Her house is filled with books, and she would only discourage her children from reading books if she felt the content was simply too mature. She doesn't care if her boys are reading picture books, chapter books, non-fiction, even the back of the cereal box. Her family has a monthly book club in which they discuss books they've selected for each other to read. Last spring her boys participated in Readathon with her, and they each read books for charity. Did they have fun? You betcha. Did she force them? Certainly not!!
That New York Times article has had more than 300 comments, most of them vilifying my friend. The Times reporter has refused to correct or clarify her remarks, and that makes me furious. She's hurt and upset, and it's so unfair. Now, Amanda has about ten times more followers than I do, and she's had tons of supportive comments on her blog today, which is comforting. She's also had lots of comments from people who sought out her blog after reading the article, and were able to get the full story.
I just feel really badly that my good friend has had this terrible experience when she was simply trying to be kind and helpful to this reporter. The whole thing is particularly disturbing to me because years ago, I was a journalism major in college, and our professors tried to teach us about getting accurate quotes and writing unbiased articles. The New York Times was always used as an example of a paper with very high journalistic standards, so I'm really disappointed with them. This isn't some lousy cable news service.
Amanda was the first friend I made when I moved to San Antonio two years ago -- not surprisingly, we met at a book group that she founded. She's the one who encouraged me to start blogging, and I've probably found most of my followers and commenters because of her. If you've never read her blog, please take a moment to read her side of the story, and even leave her an encouraging comment. She deserves better than this.
P.S. If you can't get to Amanda's blog, it's probably crashed from so much traffic.