We lost a fantastic voice yesterday with the death of Maya Angelou, but we are much richer for having had her with us through some of our most momentous times. In Japan, there’s a national tradition of making designating those people who contribute greatly to the arts and culture of their nation “living national treasures.” Britain does something similar with its knighthoods (like Sir Terry Pratchett, knighted for “services to literature”), and the Navajo have the less formal designation of Valuable Person. Maya Angelou was all those rolled into one lovely juggernaut.

I was pleased to see that, the same day she passed away, another literary figure of my generation’s childhood stood up to bring some of that American spirit back into our mainstream. If you haven’t already heard about LaVar Burton’s kickstarter to restore Reading Rainbow, you’re missing out!You aren’t behind the times, though; the campaign was funded within a day. Now, every dollar goes towards bringing the program to more kids and schools.

Everyone in my family is backing the project, since the original program was such a part of our lives and we want everyone to have the opportunity to learn and love reading…and perhaps a little bit because we couldn’t agree to share the book.