By DAVID CRUMM
Editor of ReadTheSpirit magazine
“You’ve got to meet Stan Tucker!”
That’s what our Marketing Director Susan Stitt told our team recently. She lives in Georgia and had just experienced the infectious excitement for reading that Stan spreads in schools whenever he visits.
“What’s more—he connects literacy to encouraging kindness,” Susan said. “He’s doing terrific work.” (We know you will enjoy reading Susan’s own story, this week, about a recent day she spent with Stan and his book-packed Read-n-Roll literacy bus. Susan’s column is in our Front Edge Publishing website.)
But, wait before you click over to her story about this amazing bus!
There’s more here, including a terrific short video (below) that will introduce you to “Stan the Man.” We’re not alone in our enthusiasm. Ellen DeGeneres has featured Stan’s work on national television. Among his other major donors are the Zac Brown Band, which is based in Atlanta.
All of us at our publishing house have joined these stars in falling in love with Stan Tucker, because he so passionately embodies values that parallel our own founding 10 Principles of Publishing, which include:
- We must look for the truth in every stage and condition of life—because we often overlook the voices of the most vulnerable among us.
- The most powerful stories are in the lives of ordinary people, who often assume they have nothing to contribute. We must draw them out.
- And: Inspiration moves through community. It’s been true for thousands of years. Good media builds healthier communities.
That’s what Stan Tucker is doing in Georgia right now—one child and one school at a time.
What made Stan Tucker jump into Leap for Literacy?
“I am a teacher,” Stan says when asked about his vocation. “I taught 2nd grade in a school here in Georgia that had lots of low income families and a high Hispanic population.”
He describes a catalytic experience on his Leap for Literacy website:
Stan was inspired to found Leap for Literacy after a particularly difficult day in his 2nd grade classroom. It went something like this:
Mr. Tucker: “Good morning students! Today is the first day of the book fair and it is open for us to start shopping! Please line up at the door if you remembered your book money.”
2nd Grader: “My mom says we don’t have money for books, I can’t go.”
Mr. Tucker’s heart breaks—Crackkk! He vows from this day forward that he will get brand new books into little, eager hands in any way he can.
In his mobile literacy programs, Stan now focuses on schools where a majority of students come from poor families.
How far is Stan Tucker leaping now?
“My father passed when I was 8, so we moved in with my grandmother for a while,” Stan explained in an interview. “The book I wrote, Stan and the Man, is my way of telling the story of my father and me.
“I’ve faced a lot of challenges; I’ve seen a lot of kids who are facing challenges today. And, through that whole experience, I developed the four things we teach in Leap for Literacy:
“Enjoyment—We want every student to enjoy reading, so we give them books and encourage reading in the home.
“Ownership—It’s so important that students own books; that they have books in their home; that books become a part of their lives.
“Authorship—We’ve all got a story to share; we need to help these students see that they can become authors themselves; and that’s why we give students blank books to begin writing their own stories.
“Kindness—This whole program is about more than literacy. It’s about encouraging kindness in these schools and communities. So, the kids have to participate in acts of kindness to get their books. Kindness is the currency for receiving our books.”
From ‘Stan and the Man’ to publishing new authors
Stan also invites a school’s staff to help select an especially inspiring book by one of the promising young authors who write their own stories in the blank books they are given along with their free reading books. Then, just as he self-published his own book, he promises to help this handful of young students to publish their books. So far, he is piloting just a few titles—enough to have inspiring examples that plant seeds across these communities.
“I want the students to grow up knowing an author—and seeing what is possible in life,” he said in our interview. “I want them growing up knowing that their story matters—and that they have stories that are worth sharing with others.”
Stan sells his own book through his personal website: StanleyTucker.com
AND NOW—Want to a guaranteed smile, right now?