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LETTER: Read, then engage in discussion to learn

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To the Editor:

As an educator by training, and librarian of many years, reading is a passion of mine. Reading keeps the mind active and helps us learn new words. It captivates the imagination and teaches us about others. Reading is fun and reading is for everyone.

It is important that our children continue reading as they age, but we should remind ourselves to pick up a book and continue reading ourselves, too.

Because of the importance of reading, I was especially pleased to host One Book South Dakota for interested state employees at the governor's mansion Sept. 27. The program encourages each South Dakotan to read a selected book over the course of one year and then get together and discuss the book. One Book South Dakota not only promotes reading, but takes it one step further. By reading the selected book and discussing it with others, the reader learns even more about the subject, and gains the insights of others.

The event at the governor's mansion featured a presentation and question and answer session with Joseph Marshall, the author of this year's selected book, "The Journey of Crazy Horse." Video of the event is available on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v Akg2Vg06Hzk. Free study and planning guides for the book are available at www.sdhumanities.org/programs_book.htm.

This year's book is a story of the life of Crazy Horse from the Native American perspective. It is one of the first tales of Crazy Horse to rely on oral histories passed down by generations of Native Americans. For many, Crazy Horse is the fearless warrior who defeated Gen. Custer at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, but the book describes him as much more.

The book describes Crazy Horse as a humble man who led by example. He never talked of his exploits in battle or wore clothing that distinguished him from other members of his tribe. He cared deeply for his people and dedicated his life to serving and protecting them. He was also self-reliant. Crazy Horse resisted the push to settle on the reservation until it was necessary to keep his people from starving.

Crazy Horse was much more than a warrior and his life and can teach us lessons that remain relevant today. I encourage you to pick up and read "The Journey of Crazy Horse" and get together and discuss it with others in your community.

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