Books and reading never go out of style in Harford [Editorial]

Please take advantage of one or more of the many opportunities to enjoy books

Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack and Quack may not be the most famous characters in American literature, but they certainly rank among the most enduring, and endearing.

The youngsters of Robert McCloskey's "Make Way for Ducklings" are celebrating their 75th birthday this year, and what child since 1941 hasn't read about them? That's the great thing about books. They entertain. They teach. They inform. And, best of all, they stay with us, often for generations to come.

Books never stop enriching our minds.

In Friday's edition, Aegis reporter Bryna Zumer visited two Harford County Public Library book groups in the library's Books on Tap program, one in Aberdeen, the other in Bel Air. The groups got together, at MaGerk's for a discussion of Philip Dick's "The Man in the High Castle" which, though written in 1963, is the basis for a contemporary Amazon TV series of the same name, and at The Greene Turtle to discuss actor John Cryer's autobiography, "So This Happened," released last year.

Regardless of what they were reading, Bryna noted, the two groups "definitely seem to be having a good time and enjoying each other's company." To that point, Daria Parry, chief operating officer of the Harford County Public Library system, said Books on Tap and the other book discussion programs the library sponsors and encourages are designed to engage the community, which is a big part of the library's mission.

Maybe you're not the sort of person to join a group and talk about the last book you read, but certainly you have some thoughts about it, even if you'd prefer to keep it to yourself. That's what's important: reading (doesn't matter what) gets the senses and thought processes working. It truly is an armchair adventure, and not one to be missed, especially when there are so many ways to deliver the written (and spoken) word in our contemporary world.

We commend the Harford County Public Library for encouraging citizens of all ages to read, from the popular annual summer and winter reading programs for young people to the book groups and author appearances it sponsors through individual branches, just to name a few of those efforts.

Finally, a tip of the hat to Jennifer Ralston, materials manager for HCPL, for her service on the 2016 Caldecott Medal Committee.

The Caldecott Medal annually recognizes "the most distinguished American picture book for children." This year's award winner was "Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear," illustrated by Sophie Blackall and written by Lindsay Mattick.

No doubt Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack and Quack, whose creator received the 1942 Caldecott Medal, would be proud of this year's winner and appreciative of folks like Jennifer Ralston who make the tough choices for the award from among so many deserving entries.

No matter how it's experienced, reading is a celebration that enriches our lives each time we read or hear a story. Please take advantage of one or more of the many opportunities to enjoy books that are available in Harford County.

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