Monday, April 28, 2008

Last Thursday night, Trent & Little K has special Daddy time while I went to "A Celebration of Reading," benefiting the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy and the Barbara Bush Texas Fund. When I offered to help my mom set up for this event, she misunderstood my intentions and got me a ticket to the event. Cool, right? Well, I'd rather stay home in the evenings to spend time with my daughter and husband but I went any ways.

It was amazing. We gathered in the Hobby Center and were seated. Former President George W. H. Bush and Barbara Bush welcomed everyone and introduced the first author, who would read a 10-minute excerpt from his book. Low & behold, in walked Former President Bill Clinton. Wow! He read from his book "Giving" and then announced that some members of the audience would receive a complimentary copy of his book (including moi). All politics aside, this was pretty impressive.

We then heard from a woman who said she had graduated from college without knowing how to read by faking it and cheating. She struggled to find work and said it was especially difficult to find the right products at the grocery because she couldn't read the labels on meat. Finally, she went to the Reading Commission and began to learn to read. Programs like the ones being sponsored at "A Celebration of Reading" helped this woman learn to read. Her goal: to read a book to her second grader's class. She was on her way.

Next we heard 10-15 minute readings from the following:
  • Jim Nantz: journalist for CBS Sports and author of Always By My Side
  • Immaculee Ilibagiza: survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide and author of Left to Tell
  • Amy Grant - contemporary Christian artist and author of Mosaic: Pieces of My Life So Far
  • Jill Conner Browne - author of the Sweet Potato Queens series
This is a photo of the stage, including a custom made book case that was designed and underwritten by the interior design firm where my mom works. The stage set was then donated to Ronald McDonald House Houston to help youngsters nurture their love for reading. Super cool.
I don't think anyone in the audience left the event without feeling inspired. Just in case we needed a boost, a light dinner and discussion followed.
Now I have a long list of books to read and plenty of inspiration to do good for others. Reading 20 minutes per day with my daughter is my first step.
Until the next nap time...