With love, mom.

Author:Dodson, Angela P.
Position:Mammy wit - Editorial

Mother wit" or "mammy wit" is what the old folks used to call that intrinsic wisdom God gave women, guiding even the unschooled in caring for and protecting their families. Whatever it is, it sometimes seems to be in shorter supply in our modern age, and great forces in society seem to work against those who try to raise their children well.

For those of us who labor in the vineyard of words, getting our children to enjoy or at least endure reading and to achieve writing competence is an especially daunting task today. In this issue, Anna Deavere Smith, the incomparable actress, writer and visionary, shares her thoughts on nurturing artistry of all kinds, and Kim McLarin, a journalist turned novelist, explores her dilemma in creating fiction her children might read someday.

Most of us simply struggle with trying to get our children to pick up a book from time to time and like it. This is especially true in an era where everything from television to Web encounters to gangs might compete for their time and allegiance. Having raised four adopted sons, I share the frustration of many parents and can attest to having tried many tactics. My favorite--and I hope theirs---was the comics strategy. I credit comics for playing a role in my own love of reading. As children, my brother and I invested huge proportions of our weekly allowance of a dollar (it was a long time ago, and that amount went really far) in the adventures of Superman, Batman and a host of other heroes and heroines. We joke now, that had our collection not fallen...

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