Maggie's Minute, a Colorado Humanities Update, Oct. 31

Roll over, Ichabod!

Stories help us remember the important things and teach us to listen, think and make sound decisions. The wonderful thing about Halloween is its cornucopia of age-old cautionary tales costumed as thrilling stories that grab our imaginations—intricate concepts and difficult questions in disguise, with candy apples thrown in for good measure. Transitions of life and death, good and evil. Excess, betrayal, justice, retribution. The quintessential question, trick or treat? During our day-to-day lives, as we head to the store for toothpaste and coffee, we aren’t inclined to consider these things, and yet, they’re integral to our human condition and ultimately will demand our attention. We’ve learned, through the ages, that soul-searching is inevitable and the process very much improved by a really good story.

On Oct. 1, Gov. Hickenlooper signed a proclamation declaring October 2012 as Colorado Literacy Month, highlighting the importance of literacy efforts across the state. Literacy is key to our education needs, and we’re fortunate that 11 literacy programs received an important Social Innovation Fund grant this year, through Mile High United Way—including our own statewide early childhood and family literacy program Motheread/Fatheread Colorado. The $240,260 grant, which requires matching funds to reach its full potential, has helped us greatly broaden the program’s reach. By the end of next March, we will have conducted 30 Motheread and Story Exploring training institutes—free to educators—and, once our match is met, will provide nearly 34,000 Motheread books to local literacy efforts. Our program will impact nearly 20,000 Colorado children within a 12-month period. Take a closer look at this wonderful program, which goes beyond basic literacy instruction to foster family-based interaction around books and ideas. We have only $54,000 to raise by March, and everything helps. If you’re someone who knows the importance of early childhood literacy and our youngsters’ school-readiness, please join our effort now, and donate whatever you can to Motheread/Fatheread Colorado!

What’s your story? We’re now accepting entries for the 2013 Colorado Book Awards, an awards program for Colorado authors. Be sure to enter yours by Dec. 31, 2012. The award ceremony will be next June in Aspen. Alternatively, you can participate as a volunteer reader and help choose the finalists and winners—submit our Selection and Judging Application Form as soon as possible.

Jack Turner, winner in the pictorial category of the 2011 Colorado Book Awards for his book Landscapes on Glass, will be guest presenter at our D.I.N.E. in Durango, called (Drinks, Ideas ’N Exchange), on Wednesday, Nov. 7, at 6:30 pm. We’ll be in the Ballroom of Fort Lewis College—our co-sponsor for this special D.I.N.E. Jack’s new illustrated talk “From The Great Pyramids to Rainbow Bridge” will follow the trail of his grandfather, American naturalist Ansel F. Hall, around the world and throughout the American desert southwest of the 1930s. With a cash bar, tickets are $12 in advance; $15 at the door.

The one-woman show “Building on Memory” will be performed by another Colorado Book Award-winner, Thordis Niela Simonsen at the Denver Women’s Press Club on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 7 pm, and Sunday, Nov. 11 at 4 p.m. The show is based on her book Dances in Two Worlds, which won a 2012 Colorado Book Award for creative nonfiction. Tickets are $15 in advance, or $35 at the door.

We’re also accepting entries for Letters About Literature (deadline is Jan. 11, 2013), our K-12 writing competition, and River of Words (deadline is Dec. 1, 2012), our K-12 poetry and art competition. Each year student entries are judged on a national and state level, with awards presented each spring. In Colorado, we will celebrate all our state winners, from honorable mention to 1st place, at our annual Student Literary Awards and present our winners with a perfect-bound, full color Student Literary Awards Anthology. We also distribute the anthologies to school and public libraries statewide.

Colorado Gives Day is coming up on Dec. 4! We hope you’ll join all of Colorado when they support important nonprofit efforts by going online during that 24-hour period to donate through the Community First Foundation’s GivingFirst program. FirstBank is offering an incentive match program. This year, you can go online to schedule a payment now to be processed on Dec. 4, which will make it eligible for the FirstBank match. All you have to do is check the box that says “Schedule a donation for Colorado Gives Day.” Easy as can be!

Maggie Coval

Executive Director

Check out the Humanities Magazine spotlight on Maggie!