As I write this blog, I’m sitting in the morning sun in Richardson, Texas, where I’ve traveled for the 10th Annual Buns & Roses Romance Tea for Literacy.
Ten years ago, a partnership was formed between the Richardson Library and romance authors in the Dallas area. Every year, a gathering would be hosted and funds raised to help the Richardson Adult Literacy Center provide English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for adults living in the Richardson area so they can gain better employment, help their children in school and become more involved community members.
Eleven Facts about Literacy in America
1) 16% of the world’s population is non-literate. Of those with low literacy skills, two-thirds are women.
2) Legal immigrants who are English proficient earn between 13-24% more than immigrants who are not English proficient.
3) The effects of low literacy cost the U.S. more than $225 billion each year in non-productivity in the workforce and loss of tax revenue due to unemployment.
4) When immigrants have access to language and literacy instruction, they assimilate more quickly and effectively into communities and become more engaged in the economy.
5) Individuals at the lowest level of literacy have a higher rate of unemployment than the national average – 14.5 in 2011.
6) Among those with the lowest literacy rates, 43% live in poverty.
7) 75% of state prison inmates and 59% of federal prison inmates did not complete high school or can be classified as low literate.
8) 35% of immigrants make less than $25,000 a year. Most believe they cannot better their lives or get a better job until they improve their English.
9) Low literacy adds an estimated $230 billion to the country’s annual health care costs.
10) 19,050 of adults who live in the RALC service area don’t speak English well or at all.
11) 17,918 of residents who live in the RALC service area speak a language other than English at home and live below the poverty level.
This year I had the pleasure of sitting with fellow P&P Author Linda Broday!
I took part in the first couple of Buns & Roses events before I moved to Missouri. What has always struck me — and it’s no different this time, though I’m attending as a reader instead of an author table hostess — is the amazing energy and joy to be found in a room full of women talking about what they love. In this case, books and romance. And, over it all, is a fierce dedication to Adult Literacy, helping others learn to read so they can enjoy what we take for granted.
As I moved around the room, greeting friends I haven’t seen in years and making new ones, everyone smiles, laughs and talks about books. What do you write? What’s your new favorite book? What are you reading now? It’s amazing.
As a writer, I love that people enjoy reading all those words I struggled over, getting them just right before sending my book into the world. As a reader, getting to hear of authors I’ve not yet discovered and books that left a lasting impression with someone is just as fun.
So– What’s your new favorite book?
Wanted: The Sheriff
Martha Bittner may be considered a spinster at twenty-seven, but she’s not planning to stay that way. For four years, she’s wanted the sheriff of River’s Bend, Missouri, to notice her as more than a friend and a really good cook. With the first annual spring dance only weeks away, Martha decides to announce her intentions — and declares the sheriff a wanted man.
Sheriff Matthew Tate always thought he was better off a bachelor. Growing up in Boston society, where marriage is a business transaction and wealth his greatest asset, he’s learned to distrust all women’s intentions. None of them even catch his eye anymore — until pretty Martha Bittner tells him exactly what she wants… and he wonders why he ever resisted capture.
No Less Than Forever
Doctor Franz Bittner is satisfied with his life as it is. He has a good practice in a place where he is respected, in spite of his German birth. He has good friends and enough income to provide him with a few comforts. A wife would only complicate things. Then a tiny blond stranger is pulled from the river and everything changes. With one smile she captures his attention—and steals his heart.
Rebekah Snow Redmann barely survived her abusive husband’s attack. Though she was given to him to pay her father’s debts, she’d rather die than go back. Then she ends up in the care of the handsome local doctor and he stitches up more than her wounds—he mends her soul. With him, she discovers everything that she believes she can never have…a love that will last forever.