When Master Yoda tells you to read, you read. And if you do, the Force is with you. From my early childhood through adolescence, he reminded me daily of this. His reminder was all thanks to a poster printed by the American Library Association for their READ campaign during National Library Week in April of 1983.
This now famous poster featured Yoda in his tattered robe holding a red hardback book. The underlined word “READ” is written in red using the “Return of the Jedi” font. Below that is a much smaller, “and The Force is with you,” printed in white. This poster was the only item thumb-tacked to my ceiling height bedroom pegboard that wasn’t covered with layers of random drawings, ribbons, and photos. You don’t cover up Master Yoda, right? This poster is a vivid memory of my childhood, and the memory has resurfaced as this week, April 19-25, 2020, is National Libraries Week.
Sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country, National Library Week has been observed since 1958. As National Libraries Week grew, the ALA began a new campaign in 1980, the READ campaign, with a poster of Mickey Mouse reading at home. The text at the bottom of the poster simply said, “Read.” The next year’s poster featured Miss Piggy taking a book from a library shelf, this time with the all-caps word “READ” centered at the top of the poster. This became the iconic look of future posters, which from 1985 until the present began featuring celebrities. In my opinion, one cannot match nor surpass the celebrity of Master Yoda.
Both Star Wars and reading bring wonder and excitement into our imaginations, but when you combine the two and read Star Wars, the experience is incomparable. As a latecomer to the written world of Star Wars, I have become very thankful for my local public libraries and the amount of material (both physical and digital) they carry to feed the craving for more stories and details related to my favorite galaxy beyond ours. If you haven’t tapped into your local library’s Star Wars collection, I highly recommend it. For more information on National Library Week and ways you can support your local libraries online and through social media, visit:
With the High Republic Era of Star Wars literature growing near, featuring stories for Star Wars fans from 2 to 102, what better time is there than now to encourage ourselves and those around us to obey Master Yoda. The Force is with us, and all we need to do is read. For more information on the 80s Yoda Poster, Pete Vilmur wrote a detailed article at: