David Bowie Urges Kids to READ in a 1987 Poster Sponsored by the American Library Association


If you were Amer­i­can and in school dur­ing the late ‘80s and through the ‘90s, you would have seen the Amer­i­can Library Asso­ci­a­tion’s series of pro­mo­tion­al posters that paired a celebri­ty with his/her favorite book, and a sim­ple com­mand: READ. Need it be point­ed out that the coolest of the batch, and one of the first to be shot for the series, was the one fea­tur­ing David Bowie? (This also prob­a­bly meant your librar­i­an was cool too.)

The ALA con­tin­ues to update the series with stars like Phar­rell, Bel­la Thorne, and Octavia Spencer, but they also rere­leased the Bowie poster in Feb­ru­ary in hon­or of the musi­cian’s pass­ing the month before. Bowie looks like a teenag­er, dressed in his let­ter­man jack­ets (from Cana­di­an com­pa­ny Roots, by the way, still mak­ing such jack­ets).

His pom­padour is on point, not egre­gious like his Glass Spi­der Tour ‘do just around the cor­ner. While oth­er celebs in the series dis­play their books like an award, he’s active, read­ing and jump­ing at the same time. (Not the best way to read, how­ev­er.) And those bare feet (see the full poster here) are a nice touch, just a lit­tle bit of Bowie strange­ness.

And though he’s read­ing Fyo­dor Dos­toyevsky’s The Idiot, the book did not turn up on Bowie’s list of his 100 favorite books, print­ed in 2013. Per­haps it’s a ref­er­ence to the album he co-wrote and pro­duced with Iggy Pop?

You can buy your copy of the Bowie Read poster and sup­port the ALA here. It costs $18 and mea­sures 22″ x 34.”

Relat­ed Con­tent:

David Bowie Releas­es 36 Music Videos of His Clas­sic Songs from the 1970s and 1980s

The Sto­ry of Zig­gy Star­dust: How David Bowie Cre­at­ed the Char­ac­ter that Made Him Famous

The 10 Great­est Books Ever, Accord­ing to 125 Top Authors (Down­load Them for Free)

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the artist inter­view-based FunkZone Pod­cast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, read his oth­er arts writ­ing at tedmills.com and/or watch his films here.

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