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Muhammad Ali Says Read

December 4, 2006

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Muhammad Ali is lending his name to a new campaign to encourage reading by children. The pioneering boxer and peace and civil rights activist overcame dyslexia as a child in order to learn to read and write. Moreover, he sees a danger in today's electronic culture, which relies too heavily on computers and videogames and not enough on books.

"The more you make a child read, the more they are motivated. The more motivation they have, the more they seek out books to read and the more they become empowered by what they read and empowered with what they can do."

—Muhammad Ali

The new series, from Scholastic, is titled Muhammad Ali Presents Go the Distance. Among the books is the story of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play in baseball's Major Leagues.

The books are aimed at students in grades 3 to 8, especially boys. Time after time, studies show that boys read books much less than girls do, preferring to engage in videogames or sports. The danger in that, according to Ali, is that boys don't realize their potential nearly as much as they could because they aren't exposed to new ideas.

The Scholastic collection, which is available now, includes a biography of Muhammad Ali, of course. It also includes nonfiction and multicultural fiction.

Among the books are

  • Abe Lincoln, the Boy Who Loved Books
  • Can Snakes Crawl Backward? Questions and Answers about Reptiles
  • The Real Slam Dunk
  • Harvesting Hope: The Real Cesar Chavez Story
  • If Dogs Were Dinosaurs
  • The Skeletons in the Smithsonian
  • Math-terpieces: The Art of Problem Solving
  • Hunterman and the Crocodile
  • You're Tall in the Morning but Shorter at Night: And Other Amazing Facts about the Human Body
  • Let It Begin Here! Lexington & Concord: First Battles of the American Revolution
  • Think Factory: Inventions
  • You Wouldn't Want to Be an Egyptian Mummy!
  • Langston's Train Ride
  • The Shackleton Expedition
  • Yao Ming

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