ABC News: Author honored by Kern Literacy Council releases memoir. By: Keeley Van Middendorp, 23ABC, Amy Pachla, 23 ABC. Posted at 4:33 PM, Dec 09, 2023 BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Norman Farrell Brown says by the age of 16, he had lived in 24 houses with a rotating door of father figures.
“Seven houses in New Mexico in one year, and two schools; that was (just) third grade,” Brown said. Brown had roamed the halls of 19 schools, falling through the cracks in each classroom. “I never even read anything,” he said. “I don't remember anything. It was such a blur at that point.” READ FULL STORY
ABC News: National Reading Day: Man learns to read at age 47 On National Reading Day, we celebrate Norman Brown who learned to read at age 47 after hiding his illiteracy from his school teachers years ago. READ FULL STORY
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The Kern Literacy Council believes that everyone has a story to share and can become a published author.
“The American Dream is about equal opportunity for everyone who works hard. If we don’t give everyone the ability to simply read and write, then we aren’t giving everyone an equal right to succeed.” —Barbara Bush.
"Literacy is the bridge from misery to hope." —Kofi Annan.
The mission of Kern Literacy Council is to empower individuals to improve the quality of their lives through literacy education. Kern Literacy Council has served residents in Kern County, California, since 1966.
Kern County has one of the lowest literacy rates in the state due in part to a largely agricultural community of non-English speakers. Kern Literacy provides one-to-one tutoring in Adult Basic Education (up to 8th grade), English as a Second Language, GED test preparation, US Citizenship test preparation, and family literacy, all delivered by volunteer tutors.
In our 55 years, there have been thousands of success stories as lives have been transformed by literacy and educational attainment. Yet there are also many stories of how people fell through the cracks of the education system.
Learning to read as an adult takes courage and resilience. When it comes to resilience, Norman Brown is exemplary. His story is inspirational and, hopefully, aspirational for anyone wanting to improve their life by learning to read.
In December 2015, longtime Kern Literacy Council (KLC) tutor and former board member Edmond “Ed” Western invited his former student Norm Brown to attend the KLC holiday party. After all the other guests left, Ed and the KLC alumni shared their journey and friendship. Norm told us his story of helping another illiterate man read directions in a manual that will give you goosebumps.
Norm did not learn how to read until the age of 47, today, with the support of the Kern Literacy Council, Norman is now a published author.
Reviews and Praise for Still Moving On
I truly enjoyed reading this book. It didn’t read like you were sitting up reading an autobiography. It flowed like listening to a friend tell you his life story while you take turns driving a long road trip.
Being native to Bakersfield myself, it brought on such nostalgia. As I read, I got “Aha!” moments like, “I rode in his limo when I had my son” or “I used to hang out there too.” It is a great story to read because of its mellow flow, but it is definitely a must-read story for anyone who has lived in Bakersfield for the last 30 years. - Roberta Medina 2023