While the headline is positive, dig into the details and you’ll see the nuances. While many of us are reading (even reading more as we age), there are a significant number of people who are not reading books at all.

The most recent Gallup poll released January 6, 2017 … “Rumors of the Demise of Books Greatly Exaggerated” … indicates that older adults (aged 65 and older) are reading more than they did in 2002 with 85% now reading one or more books a year (up from 68%).

91% of young adults report reading at least one book in the past year.

Those in the middle years (aged 30 to 64) who reported they have not read a single book in 2016 is a whopping obama_read_poster_01111739%.

Why this matters is that this is the age group raising children, seeing them from birth through the college years.

If they don’t see us reading, they won’t see the value of reading.

From presidents to mayors, school principles to parents and grandparents, young people watch us. We are their role models.

The future of reading, depends on making sure our actions match our words.

Yesterday’s book industry news announced the passing of beloved children’s author Maurice Sendak as well as this year’s winners of the Children’s Choice Book Awards. I was reminded of the ways we’re connected to authors and their works that change our lives and influence our culture, and how valuable those connections truly are.

Jeff Kinney, creator of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, wildly popular among the middle school set, won the Author of the Year award after being nominated all five years of the award’s existence. His series stars the gangly, under-sized weakling sharing the hallways with kids who are taller, meaner, and already shaving. Many of us can certainly relate.

Brian Selznick won this year’s Illustrator of the Year award for his illustrations in Wonderstruck. At an author’s breakfast at BookExpo America last year, Brian (a former children’s bookseller at Eeyore’s Bookstore in Manhattan), came to the stage sporting red shoes and showed us slides of his apartment where hundreds of illustrations from the book decorated the walls of his studio. We were, in a word, wonderstruck – not only by the story-line, but also by the time and effort that went in to the creation of such richly nuanced drawings.

Maurice Sendak's beloved Where the Wild Things Are

Then there’s Maurice Sendak. Looking back on his life, we can say that this amazing soul touched many lives with his magnificent and timeless works. I remember hearing him talk about his painful childhood and how those memories still lingered. Where the Wild Things Are expressed that common fear of what’s under the bed — and gave us permission to face our fears. Maurice Sendak will live on through the wonderful books he left us.

It’s no wonder that people continue to be drawn to the book industry, whether as an author, publisher, or bookseller. One thing is for certain – there’s a place for everyone and a book that has the potential to make a lasting impression.