Last week when I was thinking about an editorial for today's edition of Small Town Newspaper, I discovered that today is National Young Readers Day. It was established by the Library of Congress in order to encourage kids to read willingly and to develop a love for reading that will last their lifetime. It's a worthy goal. The thing is, in order to fund events and materials and to market the thing, they needed a corporate sponsor, and they chose Pizza Hut.
I am not a fan of Pizza Hut. Ranked among the pizza chains, I think they are mediocre, and the atmosphere of their restaurants makes me sad. But my main issue is not that it was Pizza Hut that sponsors something like a reading program with the Library of Congress. I find it appalling that we would allow any junk-food companies to promote their junk to a captive audience—this reading program is in public schools, and food from Pizza Hut is a reward for kids who read.
I should have written my editorial about this issue, but most of our local elementary schools have opted out of the program this year. They still sell Pepsi in the vending machines under an exclusive contract, I understand, but they won't be hosting this particular reading program. It's a shame we can't just fund the Library of Congress enough that they can have programs without attaching a corporation to it.
Instead of this subject, I chose to focus on the benefits of reading and the Library of Congress' new young reader's section. So, here it is.