Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Jeanine Nicarico Memorial Fund for Literacy Book Signing

I had the privilege of attending a book signing for Jenna and Laura Bush's new book, Read All About It! Part of the profits from this event went to a literacy fund that I am chairman of in Naperville, Illinois, The Jeanine Nicarico Memorial Fund for Literacy.

First read with first family Laura, Jenna Bush talk up their book, their favorite books, and writing.(News)
Article from:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL) Article date:April 29, 2008More results for:jeanine nicarico Literacy

Byline: Melissa Jenco


Hoping to spark a love of reading in his daughters, Jenna and Barbara, President George W. Bush often read Dr. Seuss books to them when they were young.

"When he read 'Hop on Pop' to them they'd jump on him," first lady Laura Bush recalled with a smile.

Laura and Jenna visited with second-graders from Naperville Unit District 203 Monday in hopes of inspiring the next generation of readers with a book they co-wrote, "Read All About It!"

They also made a public appearance later in the evening at Naperville North High School, both of which were sponsored by Anderson's Bookshop.

"This is something, boys and girls, I hope truly you remember for the rest of your lives because it just goes to show that writers come from all walks of life," Superintendent Alan Leis told students.

The book, illustrated by Denise Brunkus, tells the story of a boy named Tyrone who would rather play outdoors than sit still to read a book. But when storybook characters begin to appear in his classroom, he gains a newfound love of books.

"What we hope is that everybody, when they read the book, will see how much fun books are and the characters really do come to life when you read books," the first lady said.

She and Jenna, both former elementary school teachers, read their book to students, then answered questions from one student from each District 203 school.

The book, Laura Bush said, was inspired by students she used to teach in Dallas. Tyrone is based on one of those students who was a reluctant reader, though she said many students, especially young boys, can probably relate to him.

"A lot of times boys don't want to read. They want to move, they want to be active. They don't want to sit down and have to listen to a book, so we wanted to show what happens when a teacher keeps reading those very interesting stories," the first lady said.

Jenna encouraged reluctant readers to find books about topics they're interested in and said they may find they like to read after all.

Asked about their personal favorites, the first lady said she grew up reading "Little House on the Prairie" while Jenna especially enjoyed "Bridge to Terabithia" and "Number the Stars."

Students also wanted to know what it takes to be a good writer. Jenna, who has also written "Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope," told them to write often and learn from other authors.

"Write before you go to school, when you get home from school. Write in a journal or a diary," she said. "And the most important thing ... that will help you become a good writer is reading really good books."

Katie Cahill, a second-grader at Steeple Run, said she enjoyed "Read All About It!" and is already an avid reader herself. She was one of the students chosen to ask the first family a question.

"It was really fun and really exciting," Cahill said. "It was probably the most important thing I've ever done in my life."

Proceeds from the new book will go to Teach for America and the New Teacher Project. Publisher HarperCollins also will donate $1 million worth of books to children of all ages.

In Naperville, a portion of Monday's ticket sales will benefit the Jeanine Nicarico Memorial Fund for Literacy.

Jeanine's mother, Patricia, was on hand for Monday's event and said the character of Tyrone reminded her of her late daughter, initially unenthusiastic about reading until a teacher inspired her with topics she enjoyed.

"This is really a very special moment ... to have the first lady of the United States here with us and helping to benefit Jeanine's literacy fund," she said.

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