And then he gets serious: He's talking about how our politicians give lip-service in our culture to "children being our most important resource" - but there are so many examples of how librarians are being fired, how education is being shortchanged...
And we, the writers and illustrators for children, are one of the last lines of defense against the barbarians inside the gate...
The struggle is long-term, and if we look back and then to today, we are making progress.
He shares a great anonymous quote:
Craft without inspiration leads to basket-weaving.
But inspiration without craft leads to modern art.
You may like modern art but you don't want your book to read like it was painted by Jackson Pollack.
And how well we write our books and illustrate them influences how we shape the arc of society towards the moral good.
He shares a letter from an adult who had read one of Bruce's books as a child, who became inspired to make the world a better place and later joined the peace corps, and when he signed up, the scene in Bruce's book was prominent in his mind.
We can never reach one child the way a teacher does, but if we're lucky, and we do our writing and illustrating well, we can reach hundreds of thousands of kids, and impact the world...