William and the Hauler. (All photos in this post courtesy of William Grote)
This would be a profound personal journey under any circumstances. But William has added another component that also makes the journey relevant to communities through which he passes. As he travels, Williams will stop at local (usually rural) schools and other community centers. He sees it as a chance to educate about sustainability. In particular, William hopes to share the philosophy of cradle-to-cradle resource use, which looks at the full life-cycle of a product. How can production be more efficient, use more sustained, and disposal less prevalent? Asking children to consider these questions reminds them to think toward the future. This sharing of ideas is the essence of William's journey, which he calls Read Across America.
On this cold morning William will pedal uphill to a small school in Baker, Nevada. One teacher, four grades, a dozen students. Under the brightening desert sun all the kids, the teacher, and many parents—in fact, pretty much the whole population of Baker, NV—gathers and mounts their bikes. This annual event is called the Wheel-A-Thon. A snaking line of townspeople makes its ways eight miles southeast to the neighboring town of Garrison—which happens to lie just across the border, in Utah. William rides along, one of the gang today, his crazy contraption gathering sunlight that has slipped between billowing, white clouds. Turning around they retrace the route, arriving at the schoolhouse in time for lunch. William reads Dr. Suess’s The Lorax and discussion ensues. Then he’s off again. He’s got promises to keep, and miles to go before he sleeps.
Check his BOOKS link to find titles for readers at the primary, secondary, and adult levels. Purchases can be made directly from the site; UPS has arranged to deliver them to William at designated pick-up spots along the route.
If you are interested in donating a copy of my book Solar Power, the best way to do this is via PayPal. The link for this option is on William’s SPONSORSHIP page. He and I use donated funds to order these books directly from the Scholastic warehouse.
And if your town is along or near William’s route (which can be viewed in detail on his site), invite him to visit a local school or library! Click the spinning water pitcher icon on any page of the Read Across America site to email William directly.