First Lady, Jenna promote book

April 28, 2008 5:52:10 PM PDT
First Lady Laura Bush and her daughter, Jenna, spoke to school children about the importance of reading. The two, who coauthored the book "Read All About It," were at Naperville North High School. There audience was a bit younger- second graders, the school-aged children they're trying to reach.

"Read All About It" tells the story of a young boy named Tyrone who thinks books are boring until a creative teacher makes story time come alive.

"We wanted to write it about a little boy. We wanted the little boy to be the main character because we both knew from teaching boys and girls that a lot of times boys aren't interested in the reading time or in the stories or think they don't want to read books because they would rather play outside or play catch or be active. So we knew we would have this little boy as the main character and that a lot of it would be (about) what a really good teacher does, which is engage him slowly over the year in these stories until he really wants to read," said Laura Bush.

Laura and Jenna both have teaching backgrounds. They said the story is loosely based on their own experiences in the classroom. They hope to inspire all children to read, but boys in particular.

"There's a real need for boys in the classroom-- men teachers. We have lot of goals: but we wanted it to be smart, we wanted it to be funny. We wanted it to be something parents would want to read to their children and teachers would want to read to their kids," said Jenna.

A portion of the local sales of the Bush book will be donated to a Literacy Fund in honor of Jeanine Nicarico, a 10-year-old Naperville girl who was abducted and murdered in 1983.

"She was a child that struggled with reading. And that's why this "Read All about It" got to me. It was a teacher that inspired her to read because Jeanine loved horses. She said, 'If we can just find something Jeanine really likes.' I said, 'She likes horses. She loves to ride.' She said, 'OK, we'll read about horses.' And Jeanine blossomed," said Pat Nicarico, Jeanine's mother.

A portion of the national proceeds from the book will got to charities that benefit teachers in inner city and rural schools.

Laura and Jenna are on tour with their book just for the week; Jenna's wedding is coming up.

"We're really excited," said Jenna.

"We're excited. Everything's been planned, so we just hope everything's in motion for Jenna's wedding. We think it will be a very, very sweet and lovely wedding," said Laura.

Jenna is marrying graduate student Henry Hager at the Bush family ranch in Texas on May 10.


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